Celebrating research excellence

La Trobe has recognised the outstanding contribution of its researchers at the annual Staff Awards Ceremony

There are many exceptional researchers across the University who undertake valuable research, win competitive grants, supervise graduate research students, produce high quality publications, and translate their research for maximum impact. The Research Excellence Awards, presented as part of the La Trobe Staff Awards Ceremony are a chance to celebrate and honour these outstanding researchers.

La Trobe’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Industry Engagement) Professor Susan Dodds announced the winners during the esteemed event.

“The Research Excellence Awards acknowledge those who contribute above and beyond the requirements of their role, pursue excellence and foster cross-University collaboration to achieve positive outcomes for our graduate research students and communities. We have an outstanding selection of winners this year, highlighting the quality and impact of research and the extraordinary talent we have at La Trobe,” Professor Dodds said.

Congratulations to all of the 2021 Research Excellence Award winners.

Excellence in Graduate Research Supervision Award

Professor Nora Shields

In recognition of her graduate research supervision with students from multiple discipline backgrounds, Professor Shields shows great insight and experience as a supervisor and is committed to nurturing the next generation of researchers in physical activity and disability. She actively supports her students to develop strong track records and diverse research skills, setting them up for future success. Her approachable manner, willingness to share knowledge and timely provision of critical analysis and constructive feedback has proved extremely helpful to her candidates.

Excellence in Research Engagement Award

Professor Wei Xiang

Professor Xiang was appointed Cisco Research Chair of AI and Internet of Things based at La Trobe in May 2020. Since then, he has played a crucial role in maintaining and strengthening the relationship between the two organisations. He established the Cisco-La Trobe Centre for AI and Internet of Things, Australia’s only research centre that specialises in exploiting the synergy between AI and IoT technologies. Professor Xiang has played a crucial role in planning for the La Trobe Digital Innovation Hub; his research centre and projects will underpin the research themes of the Hub.

Excellence in Research Impact Award

Dr Andrea Waling, Associate Professor Adam Bourne, Associate Professor Anthony Lyons and Gene Lim

This team has been recognised for their impactful work from their research project Understanding LGBTIQ+ Lives in Crisis. The project sought to examine experiences and barriers to accessing acute mental health support services for LGBTIQA+ communities, a population known to face disproportionately high levels of mental ill-health and suicidality. The outputs of the project continue to contribute significant impact occurring at local, state, and national levels regarding mental health and LGBTIQA+ people in Australia.

Highly Commended for Excellence in Research Impact

  • Dr Anne-Marie Laslett for her work in reducing harm from others’ drinking. Anne-Marie’s work has generated change policy that is international in scope.
  • Dr Rebecca Chisholm and Dr Joel Millerfor their work on COVID-19 modelling, which was rapidly adopted in practice with immediate local, state and national impacts.

Research Excellence Award: Early Career Researchers

Sunil Rao

In recognition of his outstanding impact and contribution to the field of business and human rights law, with a particular focus on the globally emerging area of modern slavery and corporate responsibility. A leading author in the field with an impressive publication and income track record, Sunil’s work has significant influence in the government and corporate sectors. His work has been well received and used by many industry groups across a variety of sectors.

Dr Ashleigh Poh

Dr Ashleigh Poh is an early-career translational cancer scientist. This award is in recognition of her research which focuses on developing drugs that can help immune cells recognize and kill tumour cells more effectively. Dr Poh’s work has the potential to improve treatment response across a broad range of solid cancers.

Research Excellence Award: Mid Career Researchers

Dr Gerald Roche

In recognition of his highly impactful research in the field of language and social justice. Dr Roche’s research makes positive interventions into the global language crisis. These interventions include developing new techniques and approaches to help vulnerable communities bring back languages they have ceased using or maintain languages that are being marginalized. Dr Roche has developed innovative theoretical approaches to these problems, and he has produced important new knowledge about the politics of language in China, Tibet, and the Himalaya.

Dr Adam Culvenor

Dr Culvenor is a physiotherapist and Senior Research Fellow at La Trobe’s Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre. He leads an international research program to determine the best ways to prevent and manage knee injuries and osteoarthritis across the lifespan. His research into the detection and treatment of early-onset osteoarthritis in young adults has been adopted globally in government endorsed models of osteoarthritis care and major medical and rehabilitation guidelines. Dr Culvenor was recently awarded a highly competitive five-year NHMRC Investigator Grant.

Image, top row from left: Dr Adam Culvenor, Dr Ashleigh Poh, Dr Gerald Roche, Professor Nora Shields, Sunil Rao.

Bottom row from left: Associate Professor Adam Bourne, Professor Wei Xiang, Dr Andrea Waling, Gene Lim and Associate Professor Anthony Lyons