Professor Emerita Julie Owens from Deakin University

Since 2019, Professor Emerita Julie Owens from Deakin University has nominated 15 colleagues for the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science. Her nominations extend across several science prizes categories and her nominees’ achievements reflect a diversity of science disciplines.

‘I’ve always sought to promote scientists across various fields at the university who are working on the big challenges or the big opportunities we face within Australia and more broadly, be it climate change, sustainability or health issues.’

Professor Owens is a champion of peer-promotion in science. She encourages members of the science community to help raise awareness of Australian scientists and researchers who make a difference. This includes nominating them to be recognised in the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science. 

According to Professor Owens, nominating a colleague is a great way to acknowledge the value and importance you place on their contribution. She says that being nominated can motivate scientists and researchers to find other ways to promote their work and their institutions. 

‘Being nominated transforms the mindset of researchers. It helps them to think beyond the immediate and into where they take their work next. It allows them to consider who they can partner or collaborate with to translate discoveries into real-world impact.’

When it comes to identifying who to nominate for the prizes, Professor Owens focuses on individuals or teams who are dedicated to addressing real-world challenges. She also looks to those who are seizing opportunities to translate and commercialise their findings into practical solutions for our communities. 

‘It is our duty to ensure the community understands the contributions and the impact of our researchers and scientists, especially where we can see the benefits of their discoveries to Australia.’

For Professor Owens, the prizes are special because a peer or colleague must make the effort to nominate someone. She says this process overcomes time constraints that scientists face with self-nominated awards.

It also offers an opportunity for peers to gain a deeper understanding of their nominee's work. In some cases, Professor Owens has assembled a nomination support team to construct a compelling case for a colleague’s recognition. 

If it’s the first time someone is nominated, she has even provided mentorship throughout the nomination process. By helping nominees to clearly explain their achievements, she can then confidently nominate them for the prizes – and also support her nominees in any future awards or grant submissions. 

‘The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science are an important avenue for us to highlight Australia’s outstanding science and excellent scientists. I encourage others to nominate a colleague and acknowledge the value you place on their work.’

Who will you nominate?

Nominate an inspiring achiever today: 

Nominations are open until 8 February 2024.