Barry Jones Medal to honour Geelong innovation

Entries are now open for the Geelong "Researcher of the Year" Awards.

The Hon Barry Jones AC
The Hon Barry Jones AC

Australian Living Treasure, the Hon Barry Jones AC, has launched the inaugural Barry Jones Medal - to honour the person who has done the most to promote Geelong as a place of research and innovation each year.

In the year of the tenth anniversary of the Geelong Smart Network's "Researcher of the Year" Awards, the medal has been created with the support of the Hon Richard Marles MP, Member for Corio.

The new medal was announced at the opening of entries for this year's "Researcher of the Year" awards at the National Wool Museum.

Applications for the seven awards close on Friday, 12 September and the awards will be presented at a formal dinner on November 14, where former Australian Chief Defence Scientist, Dr Roger Lough, will give the keynote address.

The Chairman of the Smart Geelong Network, Professor Joe Graffam, Deakin's Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research, Development and Training), said that the Medal was "named after one of the great fighters for research and innovation in Australia."

Dr Jones has had a close association with Geelong since he was born here over 80 years ago. He launched the Smart Geelong Network at CSIRO in Geelong in 1999 when he was Federal Minister for Science.

"I don't know about being gracious," Dr Jones said at the Medal launch. "I would have been profoundly irritated if my name had not been on the medal."

Dr Jones was recently made a Companion of the Order of Australia for eminent service to the community as a leading intellectual in Australian public life, through contributions to scientific, heritage, musical, medical, political and public health organisations and to the Australian Parliament.

"Geelong has a strong history of commercial innovation, as far back as 1859, when James Harrison invented mechanical refrigeration - which opened the way for exporting meat - to current innovations such as advanced materials manufacturing and Carbon Nexus," Professor Graffam said.

"We want to recognise that smart builds smarter. It is about being smarter than yesterday and smarter than others - in a global way."

Dr Jones - who was Member for Lalor for 21 years - said that Geelong was once considered a "remote suburb of Melbourne" that was known for its Football Club and as a gateway to the coast, but, in fact, it has become known as a "great educational and intellectual hub, with wonderful institutions."

These included its many secondary schools, Deakin and CSIRO, "which is very important to Geelong, particularly in areas such as marine and freshwater science, materials and animal health."

Geelong Mayor Mr Darren Lyons said that Dr Jones was "a passionate supporter of this great city."

"One of my primary roles is to promote Geelong to the world. I spend a large part of my day talking about Geelong's great strengths. Now I can add the Barry Jones Medal to the list," Mr Lyons said.

Professor Graffam added that "for all, the Medal is a clear sign that in the Geelong region, we are capable of world class, breakthrough research that can have a positive impact on our local economy, as well as improve the lives of people around the world."

The Geelong "Researcher of the Year" awards offer prizes of $5000 each to the best researcher in the following categories:

  • Innovation in Infectious Disease Research or Prevention.
  • Innovation in Biomedicine and Biotechnology.
  • Innovative and Sustainable Technology and Engineering.
  • Innovative Initiatives in Community Care and Disability Support.
  • Smart Initiatives for Healthy Minds and Healthy Bodies.
  • Innovation and Creativity in Education (Primary, Secondary or Tertiary).
  • Early Career Innovator (Must be less than 5 years qualified in their specified field).

An overall Smart Geelong Network "Researcher of the Year" winner will be awarded an additional prize of $5000.

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