An expert in human spatial navigation and cognitive neuroscience is the winner of the Griffith University Discovery Award, announced last night (Wed) at the Research Australia Awards last night.

Oliver Baumann from the Queensland Brain Institute accepted the prestigious award from Professor Allan Cripps, Pro Vice Chancellor (Health), Griffith University at the 10th annual awards dinner.

The awards recognise achievements in the health and medical research community, and the Griffith Discovery Award — one of seven presented on the night — again highlighted the extraordinary work of an early career researcher whose academic endeavours had already demonstrated their importance.

Oliver Baumann’s research focuses on how humans use and process visual landmarks to find their way around unfamiliar terrain.

Professor Cripps (pictured) congratulated Oliver Baumann on his outstanding research output to date.

“His work is already making an impact in the area of cognitive processes and neural circuits and is an important element of a wider study into the area of thinking systems,” Professor Cripps said.

“The Research Australia Awards help to raise the profile of health and medical research across a broad range of communities in Australia.

“It is important to celebrate the achievements of the researchers whose discoveries pave the way for improved medical treatment and support into the future.

“Oliver Baumann’s work is a primary example of this type of top-grade research.”

Since arriving in Australia from Germany in 2007, Oliver Baumann’s commitment to the area of human spatial navigation has resulted in a number of publications and attracted significant media interest.

His 2010 discovery of a “heading direction” system in the human brain received significant coverage.

His research investigates how human beings use and process visual landmarks for navigating successfully through a novel environment.

He aims to gain a greater understanding of the fundamental properties of objects as landmarks, the cognitive processes involved in the identification and storage of these landmarks, and its ultimate effect on human navigation.

Oliver Bauman is the fourth recipient of the Discovery Award which was introduced in 2008. The award has been supported by Griffith University since its inception.