Stand-out researchers in the UNSW School of Psychology have won three of this year’s 10 Tall Poppy Science Awards recognising excellence in science.

The awards, run by the Australian Institute of Policy and Science (AIPS), honour emerging researchers and award them for their world-class research and passionate commitment to communicating science.

Overall, UNSW won five awards, the largest number of winners from one university. The New South Wales winners – from the science, medicine, and engineering faculties – are nominated by their peers and will spend a year engaging with school students, teachers and the broader community to share their knowledge.

Cognitive scientist Dr Muireann Irish from Neuroscience Research Australia and UNSW Psychology is researching how we remember the past and imagine the future, with her ultimate goal to contribute towards remediation of memory difficulties in dementia to improve quality of life.

Dr Angela Nickerson in UNSW Psychology is researching refugee and post conflict mental health, employing experimental methods to uncover mechanisms underlying the relationship between refugee trauma and mental health outcomes.

Dr Thomas Whitford in UNSW Psychology works in the area of schizophrenia and neuroimaging and aims to understand why healthy patients are able to suppress self-produced sensations such as being unable to tickle themselves, while schizophrenia patients are unable to suppress these sensations.

Dr Nicola Newton at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre developed the first ever internet-based intervention for the prevention of alcohol and cannabis abuse, while Dr Megan Lord is focused on molecular interactions to better understand how implantable medical devices integrate with the body.

UNSW would also like to congratulate Dr Lawrence Lee and Dr Alastair Stewart of the UNSW-affiliated Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute for winning Tall Poppy awards this year.

The keynote speech at the event was given by Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology in UNSW Science.

Camille Thomson, AIPS general manager, says the awards celebrate Australia’s best and brightest achievers in science.

“Many Young Tall Pollies go on to achieve even greater things and to become inspiring leaders in their field,” she says.

“They also become role models by working with the education and community sectors to encourage greater engagement in science.”

Media Contact:

UNSW Science media officer: Deborah Smith: 9385 7307, 0478 492 060,