National recognition for Deakin University research into more reliable ways to capture renewable energy

10 August 2011

Deakin University’s Professor Maria Forsyth has been recognised as one of Australia’s top researchers through a prestigious national award announced today.

Professor Forsyth joins 17 of the country’s world-class researchers to be named 2011 Australian Laureate Fellows by the Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr today and is Deakin’s second researcher to receive the award since its inception three years ago.

As Chair in Electromaterials and Corrosion Sciences and Associate Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science, Professor Forsyth leads a research team looking at solutions to storing power generated from renewable energy sources.

“I am thrilled to win this Fellowship, not just for me, but for my research team and for Deakin University. It is an indication that our research is on the right path to making a difference not only in Australia but around the world,” Professor Forsyth said.

“The award is also further motivation for us to continue our work in finding reliable solutions to harnessing the alternative energy resources needed for the 21st Century and beyond.”

Professor Forsyth and her team are addressing the problems associated with storing energy generated from renewable sources such as solar, wind and wave energy. They are particularly focussed on adapting cheap and highly-abundant materials such as zinc, sodium and magnesium to produce batteries with longer lifetimes and lower cost than are currently available.

“I believe here in Australia we have a responsibility to do something about climate change,” Professor Forsyth said.

“Per capita, we are one of the worst polluters in the world, largely because of our use of coal.

“We are in a perfect position, with the sun shining and lots of wind to develop renewable, environmentally friendly alternatives to coal.

“To take that to the next level, we need to be able to store energy for when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow, and finding ways to do that is something I am really passionate about.”

Deakin’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jane den Hollander, congratulated Professor Forsyth on the award.

“This is truly well deserved recognition of Maria’s research and we are very proud to have another Laureate Fellow among our researchers at Deakin,” Professor den Hollander said.

“Maria is an energetic, dynamic and creative scientist whose research is set to lead the world in new, environmentally friendly ways to harness renewable energy sources so that we can reduce, or even eliminate, our reliance on coal.

“Her research is an excellent example of Deakin’s growing reputation as a world-class research institution: one whose research genuinely makes a difference.

“She will also continue to play a great role in encouraging more female researchers in engineering.”

Professor Forsyth and her team joined Deakin 12 months ago.

Before joining Deakin she was involved in a number of high profile research projects whilst working with Monash University, the University of Wollongong and the Bionic Ear Institute at the Australian Centre of Excellence in Electromaterials Science.

Last year Professor Forsyth was part of a successful ARC Linkage Infrastructure Equipment Fund (LIEF) bid for a “Facility for in-situ nuclear magnetic resonance of advanced materials and devices” worth $2.5million.

News facts
  • Professor Maria Forsyth named 2011 Australian Laureate Fellow
  • This prestigious award recognises Professor Forsyth's research into finding better ways of storing power generated from renewable energy sources
  • Research focusses on adapting cheap and abundant materials to produce long-life, low-cost batteries

Media contact

Mandi O'Garretty
Deakin Media Relations
03 5227 2776; 0418 361 890

Maria Forsyth

Professor Maria Forsyth

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10th August 2011