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Royal Society of NSW News & Events

Society Fellows awarded 2023 NSW Premier's Science and Engineering Prizes

NSW Premier's Prizes for Science and Engineering 2023The Royal Society of NSW was delighted to learn that two of its Fellows were named as recipients of the 2023 NSW Premier's Prizes for Science and Engineering, announced at a ceremony held at Government House, Sydney on the evening of Wednesday, 15 November. Emeritus Professor Trevor McDougall AC FRS FRSN FAA of UNSW Sydney was named the 2023 NSW Scientist of the Year , while Professor Shinichi Nakagawa FRSN, also from UNSW Sydney, was awarded the Prize for Excellence in the Biological Sciences. The Society most warmly congratulates both Trevor and Shinichi their achievements and this recognition of their outstanding research.

Emeritus Professor Trevor McDougall AC FRS FRSN FAA — UNSW Sydney:  2023 NSW Scientist of the Year

Trevor McDougall Emeritus Professor Trevor McDougall is globally recognised as a leading expert in the field of physical oceanography and is the world’s foremost authority on ocean thermodynamics. He has been recognised for his contribution to our understanding of the fundamental physics of the ocean, including how it moves and how it mixes. His ground-breaking research has impacted all of physical oceanography, including observational oceanography and ocean modelling, and he has also transformed the field of ocean thermodynamics.

Trevor’s research focuses on the ocean’s role in climate, ocean mixing processes and the thermodynamics of seawater. His major discoveries have positioned Australia at the forefront of ocean physics and climate research. His work has improved the modelling of the effects of climate change and has led to the discovery of several new ocean mixing processes and the development of new methods of analysing oceanographic data.

Trevor’s theoretical discoveries underlie the adoption of the Temporal Residual Mean parameterisation by ocean and climate models. Widely regarded as the most substantial improvement in ocean modelling since 1985, this breakthrough incorporates the effects of mesoscale ocean eddies in climate models. His dedication to advancing ocean modelling techniques has not only expanded our understanding of the coupled atmosphere-ocean-ice climate system but has also opened new avenues for future research. His contributions to the field of oceanography include leading an international group of researchers in redefining the 30-year-old definition of seawater thermodynamics and improving the accuracy of the treatment of ‘ocean heat content’ by a factor of 100.

Professor Shinichi Nakagawa FRSN — UNSW Sydney:  Prize for Excellence in the Biological Sciences

Schinici NakagawaProfessor Shinichi Nakagawa has made pioneering contributions to the fields of animal behaviour, behavioural ecology and evolutionary biology, with his research profoundly impacting the transparency and reproducibility of results across (and beyond) the ecology and evolution fields.

Some highlights from Shinichi’s work include describing a novel framework for research synthesis called ‘Research Weaving’, combining systematic mapping with bibliometrics, and establishing all-new avenues for future research synthesis. He is also a highly active and effective proponent of transparent and reliable science, co-founding the Society for Open, Reliable, and Transparent Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (SORTEE) and the Australian Reproducibility Network (Aus-RN).

Shinichi’s work is of immense value to NSW. In pioneering new ways to enhance reproducibility and transparency, he is improving the quality and validity of all ecology and evolution research across the state and beyond. He is a leading voice advocating for best practices in ecology and evolution, attracting over 13,000 mentions in social network media, newspapers and blogs (Altmetric). His highly influential work has not only introduced statistical methodologies to ecology and evolution but has also added new methods to the field, such as phylogenetic multilevel meta-analysis and effect size statistics comparing variance. His research has appeared in over 330 peer-reviewed journal articles, including Nature, Nature Communications and Nature Ecology & Evolution. He has an h-index of 79 and his work has attracted over 46,000 citations, with over 33,000 citations since 2018. He has been a Clarivate Highly Cited Researcher every year since 2018.

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