CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

Murray Darling team win top CSIRO award

The team of scientists who developed The Murray Darling Basin Sustainable Yields Project has been awarded the 2008 CSIRO Chairman’s Medal.

The team led by Water for a Health Country Flagship Director, Dr Tom Hatton, delivered the most comprehensive and complex whole-of- basin water assessment ever undertaken in Australia.

The award recognises the success of the team in increasing the knowledge which is fundamental to the sustainable management of one of Australia’s most important regions, the Murray - Darling Basin.

“I am delighted to see a project with such beneficial influence on the management and use of our nation’s resources be recognised in this way. Working with Government, community, industry and other research bodies, CSIRO has again illustrated its unique position to inform Governments and policy makers on matters crucial to our quality of life and the lives of generations to come.

In addition to the successfully scientific outcomes, CSIRO is also setting a new benchmark for collaboration which operates across borders, disciplines and various stakeholders. I extend my warmest congratulations the team.”

In 2007 and 2008, the Murray Darling Basin Sustainable Yields team undertook the world’s first water resource assessment of its scale for the groundwater and surface waters of the Murray-Darling Basin, reporting on current and future climate scenarios and possible land management changes.

In March 2008, the Council of Australian Governments expanded this assessment to provide a comprehensive scientific assessment of water yield in all major water systems across the country to allow a consistent analytical framework for water policy decisions across the nation.

Regions currently being studied as a part of this expansion are Northern Australia, South-West Western Australia and Tasmania.

Also at the ceremony held today at the CSIRO site at Clayton, Victoria, Dr John Wright, Director of the Energy Transformed Flagship, was awarded CSIRO’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dr Wright first joined CSIRO in 1973 and has worked in the minerals and energy areas for more than 35 years.

Presenting the award, CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Geoff Garrett said Dr Wright had raised the profile of CSIRO’s commitment to energy research and development and took a leading role in the development of Australian’s energy future.

“Throughout his career, not only with CSIRO, John has been a leading light in the energy field and has worked in a number of important areas which have led not only to a greater understanding of the ‘science’ of energy, but have been critical to informing policy decisions to secure Australia’s energy needs in the future,” Dr Garrett said.

“John has been responsible for focusing R&D on issues of national importance in key areas of the Australian economy and environment.

“He has worked in the research and development sector and the industry sector and it was this experience which gave him the specialist skills and knowledge required to lead one of CSIRO’s biggest initiatives, the Energy Transformed Flagship.”

The other CSIRO Medal winners were:

John Philip Award for the Promotion of Excellence in Young Scientists:

  • Dr James Tickner for the development of novel computer modelling and experimental techniques in the field of radiation instrumentation and their application in the minerals and security industries.

CSIRO Medal for Business Excellence: (Joint Winners)

  • TiRO Transaction team for the contribution of the team to the Australian titanium industry.
  • Underground Coal Gasification team for technology transfer to support the commercial development of an environmentally responsible underground coal gasification industry in Australia.

CSIRO Medals for Research Achievement:

  • UltraBattery Project in recognition of the innovative research resulting in the invention and development of the UltraBattery, an advanced hybrid energy storage device for automotive and renewable storage applications
  • Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research for having developed one of the world’s top coupled ocean-atmosphere climate models and for making significant national and international contributions to the science of climate change and to national and international assessments.
  • Hydrodec Processes team for the development of the Hydrodec process that simultaneously regenerates the electrical properties of degraded transformer oils and destroys any organochlorine contaminants.

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