About the Award
The ATSE Clunies Ross Award is given in recognition of the outstanding application of science and technology that provides economic, social and/or environmental benefit to Australia.
The Award has become one of the pre-eminent awards for scientists, technologists and innovators across Australia, recognising the achievements of many special people.
The Award also raises the profile of science and technology in the community through promotion of the Awardees and their contributions to Australia. Award sponsors come from industry, government and academia and their support and participation maintains the high standard of this prestigious Award.
ATSE also awards from time to time its Lifetime Achievement Award (LTA).
About Sir Ian Clunies Ross
Sir Ian Clunies Ross was a giant of Australian Science. Born in 1899, he was a visionary leader of our scientific community, and inspired all with whom he worked. He had a passion for science, and a talent for administration, a rare combination of skills which he applied in the service of many scientifc organisations.
Best known for his pioneering work in veterinary science, he waged a lifelong war against ignorance and fear, and left is with an enduring legacy upon which we can build for the future.
As a scientist he greatly advanced parasitology and disease control in animals and spanned the gap between Eastern and Western scientific cultures. As an administrator he was Foundation Chief of CSIRO's Divison of Animal Health, and in 1949 Chairman of the new CSIRO. As communicator he was a ceaseless champion of science and technology - understanding that the forces of ignorance imperil the application of science to the advancement of humankind. Clunies Ross died suddenly in 1959.
History of the Awards
Born in 1899, Sir Ian Clunies Ross CMG was a visionary leader of Australia’s scientific community. He inspired all with whom he worked. He had a passion for science, and a talent for administration; a rare combination of skills which he applied in the service of many scientific organisations.
Originally founded in 1959 to perpetuate the memory of Sir Ian Clunies Ross, the Ian Clunies Ross Memorial Foundation promoted the development of science and technology in Australia’s beneficial interest.
In November 2002, the former Ian Clunies Ross Memorial Foundation was brought under the umbrella of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE), securing the long-term future of the Clunies Ross National Science & Technology Award. It became known as the Clunies Ross Foundation, linking the Academy with the historic Clunies Ross name. The Foundation was established to honour Sir Ian’s name and continue his work.
The Foundation’s original Governors had recognised the need to support and encourage people who devoted themselves to applying science and developing technology to create new business, advance industry and solve community problems. With this in mind, the Foundation established the Clunies Ross National Science & Technology Award in 1991.
The Clunies Ross Foundation was disbanded in 2004 and The Award is now run by ATSE governed by the ATSE Clunies Ross Awards Committee.
Clunies Ross: Australian Visionary - A biography by L R Humphreys
ISBN: 0_522_84796_X Published: July 1998
Ian Clunies Ross was a remarkable Australian scientist who promoted a broad and generous vision for Australia. He was Chairman of CSIRO until his death in 1959 and Deputy Chancellor of the University of Melbourne. This fine and accessible biography reveals Clunies Ross as a gifted communicator who believed wholeheartedly that science could transform society for good ends.
For further information about this book visit Melbourne University Press
Ian Clunies Ross - A biography by Collard O’Dea
ISBN: 1864470186 Published: August 1997 Hyland House
T: +61 (0)3 9696 9064
This is the first biography of the acclaimed figure, Clunies Ross, for whom a nation mourned upon his death in 1959.
Ian Clunies Ross: A Biography gives new insight into a man still honoured. In her masterly biography, Marjory Collard O’Dea says "Ian Clunies Ross was a pioneer, his research into parasites and wool production enabled Australia to ride on the sheep’s back".
The dynamic Clunies Ross, an architect of Australia’s scientific boom, developed a public profile as an orator, regular media commentator and senior government advisor. As first Chairman of CSIRO, Clunies Ross oversaw its growth into a world-renowned scientific research organisation. He was not afraid to take risks and believed in letting the public know what CSIRO was doing. He even injected himself with the myxomatosis virus to show that it was safe for humans!
His phenomenal capacity for work and his far-sightedness earned him immense respect in the scientific and wider community. He was knighted for his work in 1954. Revered as he was, Clunies Ross had his share of critics and detractors who saw him as an opportunist and populist. Marjory Collard O’Dea says " Ian enjoyed life. He had a strong but not compulsive sense of duty…he was formal but not pompous… There he was a bit above other mortals - independent, dashing, capable…well-informed, amusing, urbane…His standards were high, his vision wide. Always ready to give credit to others, he was hard on himself. He aimed at a place in history and thought he had missed. What he missed was the benefit of hindsight".
In a long and varied career, Marjory Collard O’Dea has worked at CSIRO, the Senate’s Committee Secretariat, and has been a director in the Departments of Science, Industry, Commerce and Tourism. In 1980, she was responsible for producing Australia’s first Science Statement. Her interest in and knowledge of Australian science policy led her to write this biography.
A published poet and children’s author, Marjory Collard O’Dea now lives in central Victoria.
Professor R. W. Home, Professor of History and Philosophy of Science
"… a meticulous documentation of the life of a veterinary scientist turned administrator…" "… serves as a reminder of his enormous contribution to that great Australian institution, the CSIRO, and will help assess his true value to the scientific establishment and the national economy in the 1940s and 50s…" "… a biography to be savoured by official historians…" The Australian.