JCU reef researcher wins prestigious QLD science prize
A James Cook University researcher has received one of Queensland’s most prestigious science prizes – the Queensland Young Tall Poppy Scientist of the Year award.
The annual Queensland Young Tall Poppy Science Awards were announced last night in Brisbane. The awards recognise and celebrate the achievements of young Queensland researchers and their commitment to science engagement.
The Assistant Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University Dr Alana Grech was recognised as the Queensland Young Tall Poppy Scientist of the Year.
Dr Georgina Gurney – also from the Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University – was recognised as a Young Tall Poppy Science award winner.
JCU Provost Professor Chris Cocklin has congratulated Dr Grech and Dr Gurney on their awards.
“This is a wonderful achievement for both researchers and is richly deserved recognition.
“The University is proud of the work of its researchers, and these awards reflect the depth of research excellence at James Cook University, particularly in the field of coral reef management,” Prof. Cocklin said.
In previous years, JCU has had significant success in the Young Tall Poppy awards. In 2017, five JCU researchers received Queensland Young Tall Poppy Science Awards, and in 2014 JCU’s Dr Sue-Ann Watson was named Queensland Young Tall Poppy Scientist of the Year.
The Queensland Minister for Science Leeanne Enoch has also congratulated the James Cook University scientists.
“We have an amazing array of scientists doing extraordinary things in Queensland. It’s important to celebrate this scientific excellence and achievement, to inspire young Australians to pursue careers in science and to help raise the profile of science in the broader community,” Minister Enoch said.
Dr Grech’s research involves using geographic information systems to predict and map changes in coastal wildlife and habitats, with a particular focus on seagrass meadows in the Great Barrier Reef.
“My models allow me to predict locations where human activities, such as poor water quality, coastal development and fishing, are potentially damaging the environment, to help inform environmental policy and practice to protect the reef.”
Dr Gurney is an Environmental Social Science Research Fellow whose research focuses on the human dimensions of environmental governance and management, specifically relating to coral reefs in the Asia-Pacific region.
“By identifying the conditions under which management contributes to people’s wellbeing and is supported by them, my research helps decision-makers develop effective management strategies that positively affect coral reefs and the communities that depend upon them.”
The annual Queensland Young Tall Poppy Science Awards are hosted by the Australian Institute of Policy and Science in partnership with the Office of the Queensland Chief Scientist.
Photos of Drs Grech and Gurney are available at:
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