UNSW Canberra researcher Dr Megan Evans has been named ACT Young Tall Poppy of the Year by the Australian Institute of Policy and Science.

Presented at an online ceremony on Monday, the Young Tall Poppy Awards recognise research excellence and enthusiasm for communicating science to broad audiences.  

“I’m honoured and humbled by this award,” Dr Evans said.

“I’m really grateful to be recognised, not just for my research, but for my engagement with policy and in the media.

“Many researchers do so much more than just research, but this work is often invisible, and so I’m really glad that the Australian Institute of Policy and Science provides this opportunity for the engagement work of early career researchers to be recognised.”

Dr Evans’s work aims to understand and inform governments and businesses on how they can more effectively protect the environment.

Her background, which includes mathematics, ecology, public policy and policymaking, informs her research.

As the ACT Young Tall Poppy of the Year, Dr Evans will continue to engage with policymakers and the broader community about her research – including talking to the media, policymakers, businesses and politicians and by making submissions to public inquiries.

In May 2021, she provided evidence to the Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee’s inquiry into the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment.

Dr Evans is passionate about doing research that can help deliver better outcomes for both people and the planet. Her advice for those who want to follow a similar career path is that it’s hard work, but definitely worth the effort.

“Working in the “messy spaces” where science, research and policy intersect can be difficult and time consuming,” she said.

“It’s largely invisible work that is on top of our primary roles of research and teaching. There’s also no guarantee of success, and policy change can often take decades.

“That said, it is also hugely rewarding, and I think makes me a better researcher. I’ve written previously about how early career researchers can engage with policy in a way that suits their circumstances and interests – in short, there’s no single pathway to policy impact.”

Dr Evans will present her work at the UNSW Canberra Public Service Research Group Things Worth Sharing 2021 event this month. Registrations are now open.  

Read more about Dr Evans’s work:

Why ignoring biodiversity loss is an increasingly risky business

Ask an Expert: What is the EPBC Act?                 

Five ways to improve the government’s plan to protect threatened wildlife