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2019 AIPS Young Tall Poppy Award

There must be an ability to pass long hours in study and research with pleasure even though some of the effort will inevitably lead to dead ends. Such is the price of admission. - Edward O. Wilson, Letters to a Young Scientist

If we are truly pushing the boundaries of novel knowledge creation, much of the time spent will lead to an impasse or dead end. Therefore, this time spent doing research will go largely unnoticed, unappreciated and forgotten. As Ed O. Wilson so eloquently states, ‘such is the price of admission’. It is therefore jarring and overwhelming, at least for me, to be acknowledged. That the hard work and dedication to the pursuit of knowledge is appreciated.

What an absolute privilege it was to receive an Australian Institute of Policy and Science Young Tall Poppy Science Award a few weeks ago. This is a fantastic recognition of the work we at Clear Vision Research are doing and I would like to thank all the members of my current and past team for their dedication and continued hard work. It is not often that as scientists we are recognised for our commitment and dedication for the draining work and long hours we put in, so it was fantastic to have a moment to reflect on the amazing work we do. Being a scientist is such a privilege, being recognised by your peers as having ideas that are worth sharing is the ultimate honour. While being an absolute honour and something I am very proud of receiving, I must admit to being absolutely overwhelmed by the whole event and blanking terribly while delivering my acceptance speech. Despite that very minor hiccup there were two particular parts of the evening that were highlights for me and something I will cherish.

From left to right: Mr Bradley Moggridge, Dr Amelia Gulliver, Dr AJ Mitchell, Dr Riccardo Natoli, Dr Lara Mullins, Dr Madeline Mitchell

The first was to be surrounded by other Tall Poppy winners and hearing the exceptional researcher they are doing from diverse fields and complex problems facing our society. This included researchers: Dr Amelia Gulliver (ANU), looking into mental health problems and the fear of stigma associated with such disorders, Dr Lara Mullins (ANU), who is using natures biological pharmacy to develop new antibiotic and antimalarial peptides, Dr AJ Mitchell (ANU), who is investigating how life’s building blocks are held together at the atomic level, Dr Madeline Mitchell (CSIRO) is making clothes from cotton that are breathable and possibly eventually wrinkle free (throw away the irons) and Mr Bradley Moggridge who is tackling one of the biggest problems facing Australia, protecting our natural water sources.

The second was to be surrounded by my lab family and my wonderful partner Sharyn McFarlane to receive this award. Collectively you are the support and encouragement I need on a daily basis and I want you to all understand how much your dedication, hard work, humour and creativity motivate me every day to get better at answering the questions we ask and how we ask them. This award is shared by us all.

Lastly, I think it might be the last time I am ever referred to as young so I will enjoy that as well.


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