UNSW Scientia Professor Rosemary Rayfuse has been elected a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia (ASSA) for distinguished contributions to her discipline and to society.

ASSA is the peak body devoted to the advancement of knowledge and research in the social sciences within Australia.

The new Fellows have significantly advanced research knowledge and developed new approaches to areas as diverse as accounting, linguistics, political science, psychology and law.

Professor Rayfuse researches and teaches in the area of public international law. She is one of the world’s leading scholars of international environmental law and specialises in areas such as law of the sea and international climate change law.

Environmental law is a field for which Professor Rayfuse has quite literally put her body on the line.

Professor Rayfuse, who hails from Canada, has undertaken many adventures in some of the wildest, most remote places on Earth, including the Arctic, Antarctic and Greenland.

In 2006 she became the first Australian woman to attempt to ski from the North Pole to Canada to raise awareness of polar governance issues arising from climate change.

Her expedition, which lasted 10 days and covered 125 kilometres, donated funds to the Law School's Mooting and Internship programs.

ASSA is one of the country’s four learned academies.

This year, it was noted that 53% of the ASSA Fellows are female, including leading practitioners and Indigenous scholars.

ASSA President, Professor Glenn Withers AO, congratulated the 19 women and 17 men elected this year.

“The strength of Australian social sciences is reflected in these appointments,” he said.

“The scholars elected here to Fellowship have each made contributions of excellence, as recognised by their peers in an exhaustive electoral process.”

Professor Rayfuse will join Professor Ross Buckley, Professor Janet Chan, Professor Megan Davis, Professor Martin Krygier, Professor Jane McAdam, Professor Louise Chappell and the Dean George Williams as Fellows of the Academy representing UNSW Law.