CSIRO Medal for Lifetime Achievement

By Colin WardNovember 6th, 2013


The CSIRO Medal for Lifetime Achievement is awarded to individuals who have a record of sustained and meritorious achievement over a prolonged period of CSIRO service. The significance of the achievements will be judged according to impact on the individual’s field of work, the operations, reputation, and sustainability of their business unit as well as benefits to CSIRO. It was first awarded in 2002.

Winners are:


The 2020 CSIRO Medal for Lifetime Achievement was awarded to Louise Glenn, Philip John Larkin and Kathleen McInnes.

      • Louise Glenn. Louise’s dedication to science support is outstanding. Working in our finance and project support areas, she has always been great promoter of our science to our people and stakeholders alike.
      • Philip John Larkin. Philip’s research leadership of several teams has contributed to impactful science including: BYD virus resistant wheat varieties, synthetic virus resistance genes, improved pharmaceutical poppy, micronutrient-dense rice, gluten-free barley and cereals for digestive health.
      • Kathleen McInnes. Kathy’s sustained research excellence has advanced the knowledge of how climate change affects sea-level rise, storm surges and severe weather, and enabled communities to understand and adapt to climate change.


      • Awarded to Robin Wark who after starting her career with our iconic Parkes radio telescope in 1984, moved to the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA) shortly after it opened in 1988. She has been at the forefront of observer support for that instrument ever since. Robin is co-author of several of ATCA’s most highly cited papers. Robin oversaw the maintenance of ATCA’s Observing Archive from tape through to virtual server retaining access to 99 per cent of data taken with the telescope. The data are still in use as astronomers supplement new observations or contrast them with the archive. Generations of astronomers have benefited from Robin’s support of our radio telescopes, obtaining better quality data with a greater scientific impact due to her careful eye and prompt support.
      • Awarded to Andrew Ash whose career exemplifies a lifetime of collaborative service from science. His work in science has changed our understanding of rangeland management in Australia. He has led the development of climate adaptation science in Australia, built the development potential of Northern Australia and helped thousands of smallholders in Indonesia. Andrew has developed networks, colleagues and technologies to ensure his legacy lives on at the organisation.


      • Awarded to Dr John La Salle, an internationally recognised insect taxonomist, renowned for his contribution to science as well as his energy, passion and humour. John was instrumental in the development of the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) which brought biodiversity data into an integrated platform, made available to everyone.
      • Awarded to Dr Manny Noakes who has helped improve the health of Australians by translating complex science into high-impact communication that has created life-changing health benefits for the public. Manny was one of the key driving forces behind CSIRO’s first Total Wellbeing Diet (TWD), and the subsequent development and release of a further five editions.


      • Awarded to Dr Jennifer Stauber for her landmark research on the bioavailability and toxicity of contaminants underpinning the development of the national water and sediment quality guidelines for environmental protection in Australasia and globally over 38 years.
      • Awarded to Dr Mark Stafford Smith for over 30 years of international leadership in sustainability science, valued for informing policy and management of human ecosystems under global change and uncertainty, and for supporting our research teams in climate adaptation and sustainable development.


      • Awarded to Dr Ivan Cole for the development and leadership of research teams, programs and business units, which has transformed CSIRO science, leading to a lasting impact on international scientific and business.



      • Awarded to Dr Ralph J Holmes for sustained and meritorious achievements over a CSIRO career spanning more than 43 years in the field of mineral processing and international standards development both as a research manager and practitioner benefiting both CSIRO and Australia. Learn more about Dr Ralph Holmes.
      • Awarded to Gregory A. Constable for a distinguished career in CSIRO’s cotton breeding program which was instrumental to the development of varieties which have made the Australian cotton industry the most efficient producer of cotton in the world.



      • Elizabeth (Liz) Salisbury Dennis from the Division of Plant Industry for her distinguished career in plant molecular biology that established CSIRO as a world leader in this field. She made discoveries that have provided the basis or direction of subsequent research around the world including: regulation of the alcohol dehydrogenase gene of maize; the control of vernalisation, a major system that controls flowering; discovery of the FLC gene that is critical for the control of flowering and motivating many laboratories to research this biological system; and the molecular, cellular and epigenetic basis of hybrid vigour.



      • Bruce Pengelly from the Division of Ecosystems Sciences. For the development of new pasture species for northern Australia. His work involved identifying, sourcing and sharing grasses and legumes best suited to Australian pasture systems and to crop livestock systems in tropical and sub-tropical regions around the world



      • Professor Richard Head. For being at the forefront of the National Research Flagships Program – one of the most significant changes in CSIRO’s history – and for establishing the Preventative Health Flagship that led the stimulus for a preventative approach to human health at a national level.
      • Mr Terry Healy. For the formation and leadership of CSIRO’s Legal function, as well as for providing highly respected legal and policy advice, mentoring colleagues, managing CSIRO’s landmark wireless LAN IP litigation, and his contributions to Australian innovation.



      • Trevor Bird. For inspirational leadership and outstanding technical contributions to the international satellite industry and radio astronomy, particularly design techniques and innovations for multibeam antennas now employed in both applications world-wide.



      • Ta-Yan Leong (CSIRO Government and International Office). For integral contribution spanning 25 years to CSIRO’s International Engagement Group, fostering deep and trusting relationships with partners in key countries such as China which continue to deliver significant benefit to CSIRO and Australia.



      • Ezio Rizzardo (CSIRO Molecular and Health Technologies). For seminal contributions to polymer science and pioneering work in controlled free radical polymerisation which has revolutionised the way polymers are made, leading to the development of new generations of polymeric materials in the field of electronics, healthcare and biotechnology. See also Nitroxide-mediated living radical polymerisation.
      • Warwick Wilson (CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science). For inspirational leadership spanning 27 years and ensuring consistent development and delivery of benchmark research instrumentation that has helped establish and maintain CSIRO’s position as a world leader in the field of radio astronomy.



      • John K Wright (Energy Transformed Flagship). For raising the profile of CSIRO’s commitment to energy research and development and taking a leading role in the development of Australia’s energy future.



      • Richard Manchester (Australia Telescope National Facility). For a lifetime contribution to the discovery and study of pulsars in the Galaxy with significant leadership, mentoring and inspiration provided to the next generation of astronomers through world-leading pulsar research including the discovery in 2003 of the renowned highly relativistic double-pulsar system (PSR J0737-3039A/B), the first of its kind, and a ‘holy grail’ of pulsar astronomy that provides unprecedented insights into fundamental physics. See CSIRO Medals 2007 – Lifetime Achievement – Dr Richard Manchester.



      • Ron Sandland (Deputy Chief Executive). For recognition of service to CSIRO for over 37 years in science, divisional leadership and organisational leadership culminating in the successful implementation of the Flagship and Science Planning Initiatives – both of which will shape the organisation into the future. See CSIRO Medals 2006 – Lifetime Achievement – Dr Ron Sandland.