Professor Maria Forsyth awarded Australian Laureate Fellowship

Research into more reliable ways to capture renewable energy receives national recognition.

Professor Maria Forsyth, Deakin University's second Australian Laureate Fellow.
Professor Maria Forsyth, Deakin University's second Australian Laureate Fellow.

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.

Professor Maria Forsyth, Australian Laureate Fellow

“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 coming to 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.

Note: The Australian Laureate Fellowships scheme is awarded by the Australian Research Council and supports outstanding research leaders in solving the world’s biggest problems and passing on their skills to the next generation of researchers.


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