Dr Ian Wright has been honoured at Western
Sydney University's Research Impact Competition, winning the First Place and
People's Choice awards for his scientific and community work to alleviate the
lasting effects of coalmines in Sydney's rivers.
The Research Impact Competition gives 12
finalists from across the University five minutes to highlight the ways their
research has made significant differences to the broader community.
Participants were judged by an expert panel
on the benefits of their research beyond academia, the scale of engagement with
community stakeholders such as government and community groups, and plans for
During his presentation Dr Wright, from the
School of Science and Health, detailed his longstanding work with the
Environmental Protection Agency in environmentally sensitive projects,
specifically the West
Cliff Coal mine.
says it was incredibly humbling to receive the awards, especially considering
the quality of the competition.
"To sum up
six years of my work in five minutes using only one slide was probably the
hardest thing I've ever done, so it's incredibly gratifying to be honoured," he
the West Cliff coal mine has been very rewarding, from helping opposing
stakeholders achieve their goals, to seeing my work in the media and having an
impact on government policies and business practices."
for other academics is to grab any opportunity to connect with a decision
maker, to ensure your research doesn't stay in the lab but instead is used to
help benefit the community."
The runner up for the Research Impact
Competition was Dr Mark Antoniou from the MARCS Institute, who presented his
research into the positive benefits of language learning as you age.
Dr Antoniou and his colleagues are currently teaching new languages to people over the age of 65, and recording the results to determine the effects on their cognition.
"It's never too late to learn a new language and in the process help keep your brain healthy," he says.
26 October 2016
Mark Smith, Senior Media Officer