Scientia Professor Justin Gooding, Professor Andy Pitman and Dr Adriana Vergés and scientists in the Operation Crayweed Team have been named as finalists in this year's Eureka prizes, Australia's most high profile science awards.

In all, a record 12 UNSW and UNSW-affiliated researchers and teams have been nominated for the awards, which recognise excellence in research and innovation, leadership, science engagement and school science.

UNSW's researchers are drawn from the faculties of Science, Engineering and Medicine, including from the Kirby Institute, Children’s Cancer Institute, and the George Institute.

Leading the field as a finalist in two categories is Scientia Professor Justin Gooding, who is nominated as Outstanding Mentor of Young Researchers, and also for the ANSTO Eureka Prize for Innovative Use of Technology.

UNSW Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Nicholas Fisk said the result betters the University’s record of 10 finalists achieved in 2008.

“This impressive field of finalists demonstrates the depth and diversity of the impressive research talent we have across UNSW,” he said.

“Scientia Professor Justin Gooding is in the running for two prizes, both with his team developing a wearable sunscreen sensor and for his outstanding work to role model positive leadership and entrepreneurial thinking.

“I congratulate all finalists on being recognised among our nation’s very best in science and wish them the best of luck.”

The winners of the 'Oscars of Australian science' will be announced at a gala dinner in Sydney on 30 August.

The UNSW Science finalists are:

  • Scientia Professor Justin Gooding – Outstanding Mentor of Young Researchers: Professor Gooding is using a program of individualised mentorship to develop the next generation of research leaders in bio nanotechnology and nanomedicine. He has focused on developing innovative, entrepreneurial and passionate researchers who become talented mentors in their own right.
  • Professor Gooding is also a finalist along with colleagues Dr Parisa Khiabani and Dr Alexander Soeriyadi, for a simple and affordable sensor, which indicates to the wearer when they should seek shade or apply more sunscreen. By using off-the-shelf components and existing technologies, their invention has the potential to be widely deployed, maximising the benefit to society.
  • The Operation Crayweed Team, which includes Dr Adriana Vergés, Dr Ezequiel Marzinelli, Dr Alexandra Campbell and Professor Peter Steinberg – NSW OEH Eureka Prize for Environmental Research: The Operation Crayweed team has demonstrated the environmental and ecological benefits of restoring Sydney's coastal crayweed forests. By working with the public, they have put this important marine restoration project into action, enhancing coastal biodiversity.
  • Professor Andy Pitman – CSIRO Eureka Prize for Leadership in Innovation and Science: Over the past 15 years, Professor Andrew Pitman has demonstrated visionary leadership in the field of climate science. By bringing together a consortium of leading universities and institutions he has transformed the scale and impact of Australian climate science research.