International Awards

By April 19th, 2013

Australia Prize

The Australia Prize was the predecessor award to the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science and was awarded annually from 1990 to 1999 (although no award was made in 1991). It was an international award, aimed at a worldwide audience for an outstanding specific achievement in a selected area of science and technology promoting human welfare. It achieved widespread recognition by individuals and organisations throughout the world, receiving nominations from 18 countries.

The Government awarded the Australia Prize to both Australian and international scientists. Of the 28 recipients, 18 were Australian, demonstrating Australia’s strong international standing in many scientific fields. Of these seven were from CSIRO.

The Australia Prize was Australia’s pre-eminent prize for scientific research from 1990 until 2000, when it was replaced by the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science. The award was international, 10 of the 28 recipients were not Australians.

CSIRO winners (in upper case) are:

1996 Peter Colman, Graeme Laver (ANU) and Mark von Itzstein (Vic College of Pharmacy) shared with Paul Jansen (founder of Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Belgium) – Pharmaceutical design theme
1995 Ken McCracken, Andrew Green, Jonathan Huntington shared with Richard Moore (NASA, USA) – Remote sensing theme
1992 John Watt, Brian Sowerby, Nick Cutmore and Jim Howarth (Mineral Control Instrumentation Ltd) – Mining or processing of mineral resources theme. See Australia Prize (1992).


Ceres Medal

The Ceres Medal is awarded by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations. Inspired by the Roman goddess of agriculture, the Ceres Medal is the top award given by FAO to distinguished women who have made outstanding contributions to agricultural development and food security.

Previous recipients include Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Queen Sofia of Spain, the former President of Panama, Mireya Moscoso, and the anthropologist and former First Lady of Brazil, Ruth Cardoso.

CSIRO winner is:


Charles Chree Medal / Appleton Medal

The Charles Chree Medal awarded by the Physical Society, London was instituted in 1939 as a memorial to Dr Charles Chree (President of The Physical Society 1908-10) by his sister, for distinguished research in branches of physics in which Dr Chree was particularly interested. The terms and conditions of the award are governed by a Trust Deed. Between 1941 and 1999 the award was made in alternate years.

The award is made annually for distinguished research in environmental physics, terrestrial magnetism, atmospheric electricity and related subjects, such as other aspects of geophysics comprising the earth, oceans, atmosphere and solar-terrestrial problems. The medal is silver and is accompanied by a prize of £1 000 and a certificate.

In 2008 it was renamed the Appleton medal and prize, by the Institute of Physics, and is awarded for distinguished research in environmental, earth or atmospheric physics. It is currently awarded in even-dated years.

CSIRO winner is:


Gruber Cosmology Prize

The Gruber Prize in Cosmology is one of five, international awards made by the Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, an American non-profit organisation based in the US Virgin Islands with offices in New York City. The Gruber Cosmology Prize was established in 2000 and the annual prize is worth US $500 000. Since 2001, the Gruber Prize in Cosmology has been co-sponsored by the International Astronomical Union.

Recipients are selected by a distinguished panel of experts from nominations that are received from around the world. The Gruber Foundation Cosmology Prize honours a leading cosmologist, astronomer, astrophysicist or scientific philosopher for theoretical, analytical or conceptual discoveries leading to a fundamental advances in the field. It was first awarded in 2000.

CSIRO recipient is:

2007 Brian Boyle and members of the international Supernova Cosmology Project led by Professor Saul Perlmutter, Department of Physics, University of California, Berkeley, USA


Hughes Medal (Royal Society)

The Hughes Medal is awarded annually by the Royal Society in recognition of an original discovery in the physical sciences, particularly electricity and magnetism or their applications.

Since 1902 the Hughes Medal has been awarded to over 100 eminent physical scientists, including Alexander Graham Bell and Stephen Hawking. The medal is silver gilt and is accompanied by a gift of £1 000.

CSIRO winner is:


The International Association of Applied Geochemists Gold Medal

The International Association of Applied Geochemists has inaugurated the Gold Medal to be awarded to a person for outstanding scientific achievement in exploration geochemistry. The medal is minted from two troy ounces of silver bullion and is engraved with the name of the recipient and the year of the award.

It is presented by the President of the Association at Annual General Meeting of the Association. Since the award of the inaugural Medal in 1995 it has been awarded on three other occasions, 1999, 2005 and 2007.

CSIRO winners are:

1995 Charles Butt and Ray Smith (inaugural award)


Japan Prize

The Japan Prize is awarded to honour the achievements of people throughout the world who have contributed to the progress of science and technology and the advancement of world peace and prosperity. The Japan Prize is regarded as equivalent to the Nobel Prize except it is for applied science. Each year, a fields selection committee organised by The Science and Technology Foundation of Japan, chooses the two prize categories for that year.

The prize is presented by The Science and Technology Foundation of Japan, and consists of a certificate, a commemorative medal and a cash award of approximately 50 million yen (about US$450 000). Only living individuals may be nominated for the prize. The prize was first awarded in 1985 and been won only once by a CSIRO scientist. The only other Australian winner was Professor Frank Fenner in 1988.

CSIRO winner is:

2003 Keith Sainsbury for the category: Food production based on ecosystems concepts


Marcus Wallenberg Prize

The purpose of the Marcus Wallenberg Prize is to recognise, encourage and stimulate pathbreaking scientific achievements which contribute significantly to broadening knowledge and to technical development within the fields of importance to forestry and forest industries.

The Prize is awarded to individuals or groups of 2-4. Every year up to 500 organisations around the world are invited to nominate candidates for the Prize. The Prize is referred to as the forest’s and forest industry’s ‘Nobel prize’. It is valued at 2 million Swedish kroner and is presented by the Swedish monarch. Since its inception in 1981 until 2009, only two Australians have been awarded this honour, and both were from CSIRO.

CSIRO winners are:


Mueller Medal (ANZAAS)

The Mueller Medal was initiated at the ninth meeting of ANZAAS Council in Hobart, 1902 and was designed by Baldwin Spencer, a friend and protege of the Baron; it shows the subject solemnly contemplating a spray of acacia on the obverse with, on the reverse, a waratah flower and the name of the recipient.

It honoured Baron Sir Ferdinand von Mueller, one of Australia’s great pioneers of exploration and science, who arrived in Australia in 1847 and was the Government Botanist of Victoria for 44 years.

The Medal was awarded at the annual ANZAAS Congress to a scientist who was the author of important contributions to anthropological, botanical, geological or zoological science, preferably with special reference to Australia.

CSIRO recipients were:


Pollin Pediatric Research Prize (New York-Presbyterian Hospital)

The Pollin Prize (no longer awarded) was the largest international award for pediatric research. It recognises outstanding achievement in biomedical or public health research resulting in important improvements to the health of children.

The Prize was created in memory of Linda and Kenneth Pollin, and was administered by the New York-Presbyterian Hospital. It consisted of a $100,000 award to the recipient or recipients, and a $100 000 fellowship stipend to be awarded by the recipient or recipients to a young investigator, selected by the recipients, who was working in a related area. The stipend was intended to support a substantial portion of salary and laboratory expenses for two years.

CSIRO winner was:


Prince Mahidol Award (Thailand)

The Prince Mahidol Award is given by the Prince Mahidol Foundation. Two awards are given: to individual(s) or institution(s) for outstanding performance and/or research in the field of medicine for the benefit of mankind; and in the field of public health for the sake of the well-being of the peoples.

The Prince Mahidol Award Foundation was established by the royal permission of His Majesty the King Bhumibol Adulyadej, in accordance with the proposal of Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital, in commemoration of the Centenary Birthday Anniversary of His Royal Highness Prince Mahidol of Songkla on January 1st, 1992. The Foundation was established in honour of His Royal Highness and in recognition of his exemplary contribution as ‘The Father of Modern Medicine and Public Health of Thailand’. The award consists of a medal, a certificate and prize money of US $50 000.

CSIRO winner is:


Robert Boyle Prize (Royal Society of Chemistry)

The Robert Boyle Prize is awarded by the Royal Society of Chemistry. The aim of this prize is to build up the image of analytical chemistry, particularly in the eyes of scientists in other disciplines.

CSIRO winner is:

1982 Sir Alan Walsh (Inaugural Award)


Royal Medal (Royal Society)

The Royal Medal , also known as The Queen’s Medal, is a silver-gilt medal awarded each year by the Royal Society, two for ‘the most important contributions to the advancement of natural knowledge’ and one for ‘distinguished contributions in the applied sciences’ made within the Commonwealth of Nations. The award was created by George IV and first awarded in 1826. Initially there were two medals awarded, both for the most important discovery within the last year, a time period which was lengthened to five years and then shortened to three. The format was supported by William IV and Victoria who had the conditions changed in 1837 so that mathematics was a subject for which a Royal Medal could be awarded, albeit only every third year. The conditions were changed again in 1850 so that:

… the Royal Medals in each year should be awarded for the two most important contributions to the advancement of Natural Knowledge, published originally in Her Majesty’s dominions within a period of not more than ten years and not less than one year of the date of the award, subject, of course, to Her Majesty’s approval. … in the award of the Royal Medals, one should be given in each of the two great divisions of Natural Knowledge.

In 1965, the system was changed to its current format, in which three Medals are awarded annually by the Monarch on the recommendation of the Royal Society Council. Because of its dual nature (covering both physical and biological science) the award winners are chosen by both the A- and B-side Award Committees. Since its establishment in 1826 the medal has been awarded 405 times.

CSIRO winners are:

2012 Andrew Holmes
2011 Robin Holliday
1980 John Paul Wild
1976 Sir Alan Walsh