Sir Ian McLennan Award

By Helen WolffNovember 6th, 2013

The award is named in honour of the late Sir Ian McLennan and recognises his contributions to the application of science and technology to Australia’s industrial development. The Sir Ian McLennan Award was established in 1985 by the leaders of Australian industry and technology to recognise outstanding contributions by CSIRO scientists and engineers to national development. The Ian McLennan Award is presented every two years.

Selection is based on demonstrated achievement, through effective interaction with industry, that shows potential to benefit the economy or community. Preference will be given to commercial successes with strong economic returns and achievements resulting in significant national and/or community benefits (e.g. through being adopted by public authorities and resulting in substantial benefits to the environment). For interactions with industry, candidates will be judged according to the extent and manner of their cooperation with industry partners. This criterion recognises that commercial or other decisions outside CSIRO’s control may result in an achievement not being adopted; it is the willingness and extent of involvement with industry that will be recognised.


SuperBMS Team with industry partner – Energy Renaissance

Awarded to the SuperBMS Team with industry partner – Energy Renaissance – for the development of a Battery Management System; providing a solution to a global problem, supporting the expansion of Australia’s domestic battery manufacturing industry and helping to ensure the nation’s energy security. 

Team members: Adam Best, Ning Zhang, David Abbott, Tanson Wang, Glen Prout, Bruce Kalan, Rod Thomas, Paul Rusconi and Howard Lovatt. 


Battery-grade Nickel Sulphate Processing Team with industry partner BHP Nickel West

Awarded to the Battery-grade Nickel Sulphate Processing Team with industry partner BHP Nickel West for conceiving, developing and piloting a process to convert impure nickel powder into highly pure nickel sulphate for battery manufacture on a laboratory scale. This process has now been commercialised by BHP to create Australia’s first nickel sulphate processing plant.

Team members: Keith Barnard, Micheal da Costa, Denis Shiers, Judy McShane, Nicole Chapman, Michael Jackson, Alton Grabsch, Chamika Jayashankha, Wensheng Zhang, Yoko Pranolo, Richard Clout, Karl Bunney, Peter Austin, Jian Li, Chris Vernon, John Stewart, Dan Ha, Flormirza Cabalteja


Dual Purpose Canola Team

Awarded to the Dual Purpose Canola Team for conceiving, developing, and translating the novel and now widely adopted practice of dual-purpose canola for both grain and grazing with profound impact on crop productivity, sustainability, and resilience of mixed farming systems.

Team members: John Kirkegaard, Susie Sprague, Julianne Lilley, Lindsay Bell, Hugh Dove, Tony Swan, Melanie Bullock, Scott McDonald, Bruce Isaac.



Awarded to TraNSIT. The Transport Network Strategic Investment Tool (TraNSIT) revolutionised the way Australia’s transport-related infrastructure investments are prioritised. The tool is now widely used by all levels of government to inform Australia’s largest transport infrastructure projects and initiatives.
Team members: Dr Andrew Higgins, Mr Stephen McFallan, Dr Chris Chilcott, Ms Caroline Bruce, Mr Adam McKeown, Ms Amy Edwards, Dr Artiom Bondarenco, Mr Nick Smolanko, Mr Jamie Vleeshouwer, Mr Shane Seaton, Dr Oswald Marinoni, Mr Arthur Read, Mr Anthony Carlson, Dr Peter Stone, Dr Liana Williams, Helen Beringen, Alessio Arena.


Southern Bluefin Tuna Monitoring and Management Team

Awarded to the CSIRO Southern Bluefin Tuna Monitoring and Management Team for improving the economic returns, community benefits and stock status of the Southern Bluefin Tuna fishery through delivery of a scientifically tested management system combined with the development of ground-breaking genomic assessment methods. We worked with the Australian Southern Bluefin Tuna Industry Association (ASBTIA) to achieve this significant result. Seminal and significant medal winners: Dr Campbell Davies, Dr Rich Hillary, Ms Ann Preece, Dr Mark Bravington, Dr Peter Grewe, Ms Jessica Farley, Mr Craig Proctor, Mr Russell Bradford and Ms Paige Eveson. Contributing others: Dr Rasanthi Gunasekera, Ms Peta Hill, Mr Matt Lansdell, Ms Jorden Aulich, Mr Scott Cooper, Mr Jason Hartog, Ms Naomi Clear, Mr Andreas Marouchos, Mr Andrew Filisetti, Mr Dave Kube, Mr Christopher Blood and Mr Murray Campbell.


Longwall Automation Research Team

Awarded to the Longwall Automation Research Team for the development of LASC, a mining equipment automation technology based on inertial navigation that has generated significant improvements to the productivity and safety of Australia’s longwall coal mines. CSIRO acknowledges Glencore as a distinguished partner for the LASC Longwall Automation Research Team in their development of LASC. Team members: David Hainsworth, David Reid, Jonathon Ralston, Chad Hargrave, Mark Dunn, Jeremy Thompson, Peter Reid, Ronald McPhee, Alison Sanders, Sarah  leary and Zak Jecny.



Niall Finn

Dr Niall Finn for his leadership of the Textor Technologies and CSIRO 3D Nappy Liner Team. This partnership resulted in the development of a three-dimensional composite nonwoven nappy-liner and successful manufacturing process for Textor Technologies. The novel 3D composite structure with its pattern of domed projections was designed to provide space for the fluids to flow into and then allow the liquid to be pulled down into the core of the nappy away from the baby’s skin, while the domes limit the skin contact area. The new material has been commercialised through Textor Technologies and Kimberly Clark for the Huggies brand of nappies, firstly in Australia but subsequently in the United States of America (supplied from Australia). It will be further rolled out globally in the coming months and years. See 3D UltraAbsorb Fabric Technology for Nappy Liners.



Manh Hoang

Dr Manh Hoang from the Division of Materials Science and Engineering. For his delivery of breakthrough technologies in emissions reduction, process efficiency and zero waste processes, that have contributed positively to national development and the standard of living while maintaining environmental and resource stewardship.



Frank de Hoog

Frank de Hoog (Mathematical and Information Sciences). For innovative research into key processes in the manufacturing and mineral processing industries spanning his 30 year career at CSIRO. These included: devising a new approach to coil winding of sheet metal such as steel and aluminium for BlueScope Steel; and the determination of the operating parameters of the Kelsey Jig, a centrifugal machine which separates valuable minerals for the mining industry and has earned Australia billions of dollars in export revenue.



Geoffrey Smithers

Geoffrey Smithers (Food Science Australia). For his leadership in project partnerships which have resulted in several ‘world-first’ developments for the Australian dairy industry including: Recaldent™ for application in oral healthcare; a range of milk protein ingredients in partnership with Murray Goulburn; whey growth factor extract in partnership with Bonlac Foods, GroPep Ltd, and most recently TGR Biosciences Pty Ltd. See also Dairy products for improved human health and McLennan Award 2006 – Geoff Smithers.



Peter Reid

Peter Reid (CSIRO Plant Industry). For his contributions to the cotton industry by the development of some specific and outstanding new varieties. A number of his varieties have been international benchmarks in yield, disease resistance and fibre quality. Key examples are Sicala V-2 for resistance to verticillium wilt; Sicot 189 and Sicala 45 for resistance to fusarium wilt; Sicot 71 for exceptional yield potential; Siokra V-16 for adaptation to rainfed systems; and Sicala 40 for earliness combined with good yield and fibre quality. See also Genetically modified cotton varieties and Sir Ian McLennan Award – Peter Reid (2004).



  • Pathiraja (Thilak) Gunatillake (CSIRO Molecular Science). For his work on the design and synthesis of biostable polyurethanes for medical implants such as the Elast-Eon™ family of polyurethanes, which has received international attention due to unique properties. The polyurethanes fulfil a worldwide void for medical grade materials, insofar as they combine outstanding flexibility with resistance to degradation in the body. See also Elast-Eon™ biocompatible polyurethane.



  • Tony Miller (CSIRO Mathematical and Information Sciences). For his work on the development of algorithms and software for the optimal design of spectacle lenses. These form the basis of a unique set of lens design tools which has enabled SOLA to deliver a wide variety of innovative lens designs, including a full range of progressive lenses, atoric and aspheric single vision lenses, and sun lenses optimised for wrapped frames consultant mathematician with the Lens Design team at SOLA International’s R&D Centre in Adelaide. The impact of this technology on the world spectacle lens market has been significant, with SOLA’s worldwide lens sales being over US$500 million for fiscal year 2000.



  • Paul Gottlieb (CSIRO Mineral Engineering). For his predominant role in the development of the QEM*SEM system for mineral analysis the world’s leading image analysis system for mineral samples. The impact of this technology on the Australian minerals industry has been huge in the area of productivity gains and the assessment of new deposits. See also QEMSCAN® mineral analysis.



  • Mary Ann Augustin (Food Science Australia). For her work on the chemistry of the milk system that allows modification to develop specialised milk powders and improve the performance of liquid milk products as food ingredients. The most extensively used of Dr Augustin’s innovations is a technology that allows milk powder manufacturers to guarantee that their product will be stable during subsequent processing in the manufacture of recombined products. This technology is now providing a substantial competitive edge for Australian companies.



  • Robin Bedding (CSIRO Entomology). For his pioneering work the use of nematodes (unsegmented worms) for the traditional and novel biological control of a range of insect pests. This has had a major impact on national development of the forestry industry and is leading to the establishment of a new export industry. Dr Bedding’s application of his discoveries about the biology and ecology of one kind of nematode has broken the grip of the sirex wasp on Australia’s one million hectares of pine forest. This pest could have caused damage estimated at $1-4 billion in each rotation once it had spread throughout Australia. See also Entomopathogenic nematodes and Sirex wasp eradication.



  • Bruce McAuley Thomas (CSIRO Radiophysics/Australia Telescope National Facility). For his work on the development of Australian-based technology for the design of feed horns for communication antennas and for the general electromagnetic design of earth station antennas to receive and transmit signals. The expertise developed by CSIRO in partnership with various companies has resulted in the establishment of a new high technology industry in Australia, now worth $100 million. See also Antennas for radio telescopes and satellite communications publications



  • John Possingham (CSIRO Horticulture). As Chief of CSIRO’s Division of Horticulture from 1967 to 1971, Dr Possingham was responsible for a package of technical advances for growing wine grapes that have contributed significantly to the recent economic success of the industry. These include: grape mechanical harvesting and mechanical methods of pruning grapevines. Mechanising Australian vineyard operations has enabled a range of flavoursome grape varieties with small bunches to be grown. These were previously very expensive to hand pick. Dr Possingham arranged for the introduction, testing and release of high yielding clones of small-bunched varieties of grapes, such as Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, which have greatly improved the quality and increased the base value of Australian wine.
  • Raymond Smith and colleagues (CSIRO Exploration and Mining). For significantly changing exploration strategies in the mining industry, particularly in regions where mineral deposits are concealed beneath laterite. Dr Smith’s leadership capitalises on a breadth of perspective that spans geology, geochemistry and geophysics plus knowledge of exploration practice. The CSIRO methods in regolith geochemistry have been key contributing factors in the discovery of some important new gold deposits. Two of them the Plutonic and Bronzewing deposits discovered by Great Central Mines NL are world class deposits with combined resources of over six million ounces of contained gold. The winning team consists of Dr Ray Smith, Dr Ravi Anand, Mr J. Wildman, Mr H.M. Churchward, Dr I.D.M. Robertson, Mr C. Phang and Dr T.J. Munday. See also Regolith geochemistry for mineral exploration.



  • Jonathan Banks and the Stored Grain Research Laboratory team (CSIRO Entomology). For their work on developing improved technologies for protecting grains in storage, particularly against insect attack and reducing industry’s reliance on chemicals for grain protection, thus helping exporters meet increasingly stringent requirements for residue-free products.



  • Les Edye (CSIRO Tropical Crops and Pastures). For his work on the identification, release and commercialisation of two new stylo cultivars, Verano and Seca. Since their release in the mid to late 1970s, Verano and Seca have been planted on over 700 000 hectares in northern Australia. The potential area suitable for stylo pastures is 36 million hectares.
  • Robin Hill (CSIRO Exploration Geoscience). For his work on how some Western Australian nickel deposits are formed enabling Companies to demonstrably increase the effectiveness and success rate of their exploration activities. One of the deposits identified using Dr Hill’s concepts is estimated to contain (if developed) about $2 billion worth of nickel metal at current prices. See also Nickel deposits.



  • Don Beech (CSIRO Tropical Crops and Pastures). For his contributions to the development of the Australian chickpea industry.



  • Bill Denholm (CSIRO Mineral and Process Engineering). For his contribution to the development of SIROSMELT, an environmentally friendly metal recovery process. See also SIROSMELT.Graham Price (CSIRO Geomechanics). For solving problems with the foundations of North-West Shelf gas platforms.





  • Dieter Plate (CSIRO Wool Technology). For his work in developing the Sirospun technology, which produces worsted weaving yarn in a single step. See also Sirospun.



  • Albert Rovira (CSIRO Soils). For his work on cereal cyst nematode (CCN), a pest that costs wheat growers in southern Australia $80 million a year.
  • Hari Sinha (CSIRO Mineral Products). For his work on the zirconia powders process leading to the construction of the world’s largest zircon processing plant. See also Zirconia powders process.



  • John Coleman (CSIRO Chemical and Wood Technology). For developing an automatic, high-speed process for producing waxed, corrugated cardboard boxes.