Griffith University’s leading researchers have been recognised at the 2020 Vice Chancellor’s Research Excellence Awards held online for the first time this year.

Vice Chancellor and President Professor Carolyn Evans congratulated all researchers nominated for the prestigious awards.

“Griffith University continues to be one of Australia’s leading research universities and these awards recognise the depth and breadth of the work being carried out by our talented researchers,’’ Professor Evans said.

The full list of 2020 winners:

Excellence in Research Leadership
Such was the high-calibre of research leadership nominees, two awards were given in this category.

Professor Susan Dennison is the Deputy Head of School (Research) in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, and Deputy Director of the Griffith Criminology Institute.

She is a former ARC Future Fellow and an established national and international leader in the field of parental incarceration research. She is working to transform policies and systems to reduce the intergenerational transmission of offending and disadvantage.

Her research findings are driving substantial changes in correctional design, policy and practice with respect to prisoner-family relationships, contact and community re-entry.

Professor Dennison became the first invited Fellow of the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement and in 2015 she was invited to join an international consortium on parental incarceration, with some of the world’s most highly cited and respected researchers in the field.

Professor Sue Berners-Price is an acknowledged world-leader in the field of medicinal inorganic chemistry.

As a Principal Research Leader at the Institute for Glycomics she has spearheaded the development of a new area of endeavour – metalloglycomics — the interaction of defined coordination compounds with oligosaccharides.

A major advance has been the new perspective she has provided to gold-based therapeutics, showing they can be rationally designed as versatile drugs for a range of human diseases caused by dysfunction of selenol and thiol containing proteins.

Professor Berners-Price has played a major leadership role in nurturing the development of bioinorganic chemistry and medicinal inorganic chemistry internationally. She is the current President of the Society of Biological Inorganic Chemistry and the recipient of the 2018 Asian Biological Inorganic Chemistry Outstanding Achievement Award.

She is also an internationally recognised leader in graduate research education and the immediate past convenor of the Australian Council of Graduate Research.

Excellence in Early Career Research

Dr Hoang-Phuong Phan is a member of the Queensland Micro- and Nanotechnology Centre and Griffith Sciences and was awarded his PhD in 2016 from Griffith University. His research expertise is in Material Engineering, micro/nano sensors, bio-sending applications, flexible electronics and nanowires. He was awarded an ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award this year.

Dr Phan has an h-index of 22 and citation count of 1283. His world-first flexible single crystal SiC electronics was published in ACS Nano, with an impact factor of 13.9. He has a remarkable research income record, approaching $1m awarded since 2017.

Dr Phan’s vision for the future includes the expansion and enhancement of multi-disciplinary research between science schools and national and international collaborators. He is committed to training and guiding both HDR candidates and undergraduate students.

Excellence in Mid-Career Research

Associate Professor Lauren Ball is an NHMRC Fellow with Menzies Health Institute Queensland. Since completing her PhD at Griffith University six years ago, she has published more than 100 peer-reviewed publications on research that explores how patients in primary care can be best supported to have a healthy diet.

Her h-index of 21 is more than double the benchmark in her field as a mid-career researcher. This year Lauren is finishing her NHMRC Early Career Fellowship and was successful in the first round of the new NHMRC Investigator Grants.

Her advocacy with the UN and WHO has resulted in recommendations for nutrition education for all health professionals in the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition.

Associate Professor Ball has also changed clinical practice in Australia by creating the first support bundle for general practitioners to integrate nutrition into their routine care.

Excellence in Research Supervision

Professor Rod Connollyis the director of the Global Wetlands Project and member of the Australian Rivers Institute. He is an experienced HDR supervisor who has been with Griffith University for 22 years and during time has graduated 25 candidates, 20 as Principal Supervisor. Sixty per cent of his candidates have completed their candidature within 3.5 years of commencement. Rod instils the importance of a strong publishing record in his candidates and has published with 70% of his candidates as lead or co-author.

His mentorship of candidates is extensive and varied and includes – encouragement and assistance to work in an overseas lab to experience alternative research methods and thinking, to establish collaborations at an early stage of their careers; weekly lab discussions with invited Early Career Researchers; pre-conference training and post-conference de-briefings and a dedicated poster practice session with the venue set up as an actual conference poster session and where the research team acts as a live audience.

Professor Connolly mentors in engaged and thoughtful processes to address gender inequality and bias in science and this is evidenced by presentations and discussions on up-to-date methods and recommended behaviours for overcoming gender bias in academia and science.

Excellence of a Research Group or Team

Griffith Centre for Biomedical and Rehabilitation Engineering, Menzies Health Institute Queensland

The research team develops disruptive technologies to prevent and manage various musculoskeletal (orthopaedic), neurological, cardiac and vascular conditions in collaboration with industry partners and end-users.

Under the leadership of Professor David Lloyd, the applicants established the Griffith Centre for Biomedical and Rehabilitation Engineering (previously GCORE) within Menzies Health Institute Queensland (MHIQ) in 2016, and more recently the Medical Devices domain within the new Advanced Design and Prototyping Technologies Institute (ADAPT).

Since its inception, GCORE has grown to more than 40 academics, researchers, clinicians, technologists as well as industry partners.

In the past three years the team haas collectively attracted >$9 million in external competitive research grants and supervised 20 PhD candidates to completion with a further 33 continuing.

The team has ongoing research collaborations with more than 15 industry partners and demonstrates impact by using Science Technology Engineering, Art and Mathematical (STEAM) to create disruptive technologies to improve health outcomes, reduce health care costs and enable Australian industry.

Notable examples include improving orthopaedic surgeries using computer simulations, designing the world’s first 3D-printed wrist ligament, building thought-driven devices for neuro-restoration following spinal cord injury, and designing wearable sensor systems to help prevent sports injuries.

Excellence in Research Engagement

Professor Ross Homel AO joined Griffith University as the Foundation Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice in 1992.Since this time, he has undertaken ground-breaking research in the field of translational prevention science. He has applied this research to several major social problems including drinking and driving, alcohol-related crime and violence, public sector corruption and (most recently), youth crime in disadvantaged communities.

Over the past three decades, this work has been co-created through respectful engagement with policy people and frontline professionals who contribute a wide range of disciplinary perspectives and skills that enable research outcomes to be translated into policies, programs and practice.

Professor Homel has published three monographs and six edited books, as well as more than 150 peer-reviewed papers and numerous high impact government reports.

He has won many awards for his research on the prevention of crime, violence and injuries and the promotion of positive development and wellbeing for children and young people in socially disadvantaged communities.

His accomplishments were recognised in January 2008 when he was appointed an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AO) ‘for service to education, particularly in the field of criminology, through research into the causes of crime, early intervention and prevention methods.’