Science And Innovation Awards Bring Top Researchers To Victoria

Minister for Education James Merlino has today congratulated the recipients of two of Victoria’s most prestigious science and innovation awards, with eight fellows receiving grants designed to bring top researchers and knowledge to Victoria.

Mr Merlino said the awards, presented to leading researchers within science and technology, encourage collaboration between universities and industry, driving the development of new products and services.

The three veski Innovation Fellowship recipients have all moved to Victoria for the first time in 2015 from posts in overseas institutions including the UK, Canada and Denmark.

Professor Colby Zaph has shifted his research from Canada to Monash University, with a focus on biological methylation. It’s a new frontier in the regulation of immunity and inflammation, and will help Victoria tap into the inflammatory and immune disease pharmaceutical market worth more than $70 billion a year globally.

Associate Professor Roger Pocock moved his team from Denmark to Monash University to continue his research using worms to discover how the brain forms and how it functions. His project specifically focuses on schizophrenia, a brain disorder that affects around 200,000 Australians.

Professor Richard Sandberg is using his expertise in large-scale, high-fidelity simulations at the University of Melbourne to harness the power of super computers and develop new models for industry to reduce noise and predict turbulence.

The five recipients of the Victorian Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship include: Dr Adam Chrimes (ETH Zurich, Switzerland); Dr Luke Kelly (CREAF, Spain); Dr Kaye Morgan (Tech University, Germany); Dr Jing Ren (University of California, USA); and Phuc Ung (University Zurich, Switzerland).

The prestigious veski Innovation Fellowships are valued at $450,000 over three years, with this year’s recipients bringing the total number of awards to 24 since the program commenced in 2004.

The fellowships align with the Andrews Labor Government plan to drive growth in six key emerging industries: medical technology and pharmaceuticals, new energy technology, food and fibre processing, transport, defence and construction technology, international education and professional services.

For more information on the awards and details of this year’s recipients, please visit

Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino

“We’re supporting Victorian researchers in science and technology. Our strength lies in knowledge, and these worthy recipients are amongst those who will drive our innovation and ideas to new heights.”

“These fellowships play an important role in attracting Australians back to Victoria and encouraging overseas colleagues to join them.”

“This Labor Government is transforming Victoria into the Education State. We’re making sure Victoria produces the next generation of researchers and innovators, who will help to create jobs and grow our economy.”