The finalists have been announced for the 2009 Eureka Prizes, Australia's most prestigious science awards. Five individual UNSW researchers and a research team will be vying for top honours in four categories.

Known as the Oscars of Australian science, the Eureka Prizes recognise the achievements of outstanding researchers from universities and research institutions across the nation.

Reflecting UNSW's leadership in frontier technology and environmental research, the University's finalists are drawn from the fields of biomedicine, photovoltaics, surface chemistry, water research and interactive digital technology.

Professors Levon Khachigian and Stuart Wenham have both been nominated for the CSIRO Eureka Prize for Leadership in Science. Professor Khachigian, Director of UNSW's Centre for Vascular Research, is nominated for his outstanding work in pioneering the next generation of molecular therapeutics. Scientia Professor Wenham, Director of the ARC Photovoltaic Centre of Excellence, is acclaimed as a global leader in the development of solar cell technology.

Professor Justin Gooding, from the School of Chemistry, is a contender for the University of New South Wales Eureka Prize for Scientific Research, awarded for outstanding curiosity-driven scientific research. Professor Gooding has been a pioneer in the field of surface chemistry, producing better biosensors for use in medicine, environmental science, defence and security.

Two of our leading water researchers have been nominated for the Land & Water Australia Professor Peter Cullen Eureka Prize for Water Research and Innovation. They are Professor Brett Neilan, a Federation Fellow in the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, a world leader in the genetics of toxic cyanobacteria (blue-green algae), and Associate Professor Greg Leslie, from the School of Chemical Science and Engineering. Professor Leslie has been working with Professor Bruce Sutton from the University of Sydney on the Reverse Osmosis Capable Drip System, an invention that taps the potential of saline water.

The iCinema Centre for Interactive Cinema Research is in the bidding for the Australian Research Council Eureka Prize for Excellence in Research by an Interdisciplinary Team.

In addition, the Garvan Institute, affiliated to UNSW, has been named as a finalist for the Australian Government Eureka Prize for Promoting Understanding of Science. Young Garvan is a group of young professionals working to raise awareness and funds for medical research.

2009 marks the 20th anniversary of the Australian Museum Eureka Prizes. The winners will be announced on 18 August. Details on all finalists are available on the Australian Museum website.

Media Contact: Denise Knight | 02 9385 8920 |