Ian Wright wins Research Impact Competition

Ian Wright holding award  

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 further engagement.

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.

Dr Wright 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 says.

"Working on 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."

"My advice 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."

Mark Antoniou 

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