29 May 2015
Fundamentally changing the water industry’s management of sewer corrosion has led The University of Queensland’s Professor Zhiguo Yuan to receive a top Australian award in technological sciences in Brisbane last night (28 May).
Professor Yuan received the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) Clunies Ross Award for his innovative technologies which have revolutionised the water industry’s capability and practices for sewer corrosion and odour management.
The select winners of the prestigious ATSE Clunies Ross Awards, Australia’s premier innovation commercialisation awards, were applauded at a Gala Dinner for more than 500 eminent
entrepreneurs, decision makers, government officials, researchers, academics and business leaders at Brisbane City Hall. Nobel Laureate Professor Brian Schmidt AC FRS FAA presented a keynote
address focused on industry policy.
“ATSE Clunies Ross Awards are given to Australia’s pre-eminent innovators who persist with their ideas to provide broad economic, social or environmental benefits,” said Professor Mike Hood FTSE, Chair of the awards’ organising committee.
The project, ‘Sewer Corrosion and Odour Research Program: Putting Science into Sewers’, is believed to be the world’s largest sewer-related research project.
The value of this model is believed to have generated an economic benefit to the urban water utilities in excess of $400 million.
“The key to success is the partnership between researchers and the industry,” Professor Yuan said. “We jointly identified the research gaps and collaboratively delivered the knowledge and
technology support to enable the industry to deal with the problems more proactively and more cost-effectively.
As a result of Professor Yuan’s active and genuinely collaborative approach, the majority of water utilities in Australia (covering in excess of 60% of the population) have adopted outcomes of his research.
This has resulted in an industry-wide transformation of maintenance practices, thereby reducing operating costs, enhancing asset utilisation and extending useful life, and reducing the need for major capital works expenditure.
Council of the City of Gold Coast’s Manager of Service Sustainability, Mr Guillermo Capati congratulated Professor Yuan for his leadership and determination in addressing one of the largest
challenges faced by the global water industry today.
“Sewer corrosion and odour problems are a world-wide phenomenon, particularly in countries with a warm climate, which includes Council of City of Gold Coast,” Mr Capati said.
“The most valuable feature of Professor Yuan’s research work is how directly relevant the findings and solutions are for water industry practitioners which has led to rapid industry-uptake and
substantial monetary benefits.”
UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj, who gave the welcome address, said the ATSE Clunies Ross Awards acknowledged the outstanding research of UQ academics.
“These awards recognise that our researchers are pursuing important research that tackles global problems while working with partners in industry to commercialise that research for the economic, social or environmental benefit of Australia and beyond,” he said.
“The awards acknowledge the hard work, long-term commitment and calculated risk-taking that is needed to drive innovation and turn excellent research into excellence-plus.”
The select group of other 2015 ATSE Clunies Ross Award winners are:
Other luminaries attending the Gala Dinner included The Hon Leeanne Enoch, Queensland Minister for Science and Innovation; Dr Alan Finkel AO FTSE, ATSE President; Professor Peter Høj FTSE, VC and President of the University of Queensland; Dr Geoff Garrett AO, Queensland Chief Scientist and Professor Peter Andrews AO FTSE, former Queensland Chief Scientist.
Today (29 May) the winners join 200 students and teachers from across Queensland in the ‘Wonder of Extreme Science” event at QUT, with hands-on activities to excite students about studies and careers in science and technology.
Issued by: Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE), Melbourne
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