The quality and breadth of UNSW's research talent has been recognised with wins in three of the five categories in the NSW Scientist of the Year awards for new insights into dementia, climate change and industrial chemistry.

The awards are the most prestigious science prizes in NSW, rewarding "creative, high-calibre research that brings benefits to the State's economy, environment and people", said the Minister for Science and Medical Research, Jodi McKay, when the awards were presented at a ceremony in Sydney on Wednesday night.

Professor Perminder Sachdev, of the UNSW School of Psychiatry, was the winner of the Biomedical Sciences Category. Professor Sachdev's research is in the areas of vascular dementia, Alzheimer's disease, dementia of Lewy body type and other dementias, neuropsychiatric aspects of dementia and treatment of various neurological conditions.

Professor Aibing Yu, of the UNSW School of Materials Science and Engineering, won the Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Sciences Category. Professor Yu is a global leader in particle/powder technology and process engineering. He has made many significant contributions and is recognised as an authority in the areas of particle packing, particulate and multiphase processing and simulation and modelling. UNSW's Professor Rose Amal from the School of Chemical Engineering was a finalist in this category for her research in particle technology.

Professor Andy Pitman and Dr Melanie Bishop were named joint winners of the Environment, Water and Climate Change Sciences category. Professor Pitman is co-director of the UNSW Climate Change Research Centre and leads the new Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, which provides detailed science essential for improved regional projections of changes in climate extremes across NSW.

Dr Bishop is a Macquarie University ecologist working on coastal conservation issues and climate risk.

Other UNSW finalists were Professor Iain Suthers from the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences in the Plant and Animal Sciences Category and Professor Michelle Simmons, Director, Atomic Fabrication Facility, Centre for Quantum Computer Technology, in the Physics, Earth Sciences, Chemistry and Astronomy Category.

The overall winner was Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte, of the University of Sydney, a global leader in robotics research who leads the ARC Centre of Excellence for Autonomous Systems.

See more information about the awards here.

Media contact: Bob Beale| 0411 705 435 |