Clunies Ross Awards

Clunies Ross Award winners 2012

Dr Gideon Chitombo

Dr Gideon Chitombo was appointed Professor and Chair of Minerals Industry Engagement at The University of Queensland in 2009 – the world’s first professorial position of engagement.

Born in Zimbabwe, he moved to Australia in 1982, becoming arguably one of the leaders in university-based international collaborative mining research in the areas of rock breakage by blasting and underground mass mining using caving methods.

These are increasingly becoming the preferred methods to economically and safely mine large-scale, low-grade metalliferous mineral deposits such as copper and gold.

He was instrumental in forming the now long-standing collaborative research involving a number of the major international mining companies in Australia, South Africa, Chile, North America and Europe.

The research focused on understanding of the caving fundamentals – caving mechanics, gravity flow and fragmentation, as well as confined blasting. This research has underpinned some of the know-how, tools and practices now used by the industry (both in Australia and overseas) for block, panel and sublevel caving design and optimisation.

Dr Chitombo was instrumental in the formation of an international collaborative project designed to develop a numerical model of the blasting process for mining, regarded by his industry peers as the benchmark in the numerical modelling of the blasting process.

His current and longer-term interest is on future mass-mining methods which are likely to include large caving mines or supercaves and ultra-deep pit mining, aimed at maximising resource potential and minimising environmental impacts.

Professor Peter Blamey

Professor Peter Blamey has worked on cochlear implants, hearing aids, and the development of spoken language in children with impaired hearing since 1979, when he joined Professor Graeme Clark’s team at the University of Melbourne.

The first patient had just been implanted with a prototype device in Melbourne and Professor Blamey’s role was to investigate the hearing sensations produced by electrical stimulation of the hearing nerve.

Later, as an NHMRC Research Fellow, he showed that children born deaf could acquire spoken language in a normal manner with a cochlear implant, and the implant produced by Cochlear Limited has had a major social impact on the lives of about 100,000 deaf children globally.

Professor Blamey is a co-inventor on more than 20 patent families, most of which have been used in cochlear implants, hearing aids, and/or headset products.

The financial burden of hearing loss in Australia has been estimated at $11.9 billion per year and only about 20 per cent of people who would benefit are using hearing aids.

Blamey & Saunders Hearing Pty Ltd is using Professor Blamey’s new technologies and a new business approach to tackle these problems with a hearing aid that can be adjusted by the wearer, lowering the price of state-of-the-art hearing aids by a factor of three, thus enabling more people to improve their quality of life.

As Deputy Director (IP and Commercialisation) at the Bionics Institute, Professor Blamey is helping develop and commercialise a bionic eye, devices for deep brain stimulation, and other bionic devices for chronic medical conditions.

Professor Stuart Crozier

Professor Stuart Crozier FTSE is currently Professor and Director of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Queensland.

He has published more than 180 journal papers and holds 30 patents in the field of medical imaging. He has supervised more than 20 PhD students to graduation in the field.

His main research and commercialisation contributions have been to the development of applications and engineering innovation in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Several of his innovations have been adopted by industry and around 70 per cent of all MRI systems in the world since 1997 contain technology that he co-invented.

Professor Crozier and his team have continued to develop innovations. One of the most recent are small and dedicated MRI systems for orthopaedic imaging, which have now been adopted by a multinational medical imaging company.

New technology in image-guided cancer therapy and more accurate diagnostics for musculo-skeletal diseases and injuries are some of Professor Crozier’s current research directions in clinical applications.

As well as being an Academy Fellow he is a Fellow of The Institute of Physics (UK). He holds a PhD and higher Doctorate (DEng) in Biomedical Engineering.

Sir William Tyree

Bill Tyree (later Sir William Tyree) established his business in 1946 and in a short time the Tyree name became synonymous with electrical transformer manufacture in Australia. In 1956 he founded Tyree Industries, a public company and about 13 years later sold his interest to Westinghouse Electric USA under a 10-year contract.

In the early 1980s, he re-entered the transformer industry and formed a company that is today one of Australia’s leading manufacturers of power transmission products.

Sir William is still very active in the business and, in addition to distribution transformers, the company is now manufacturing large transformers and has formed an association with a leading transformer company based in Portugal in order to broaden the scope of transformers on offer. He is always seeking ways to progress in the world of transformers which is his first love.

Sir William is an avid believer in and advocate of education and, through The A.W. Tyree Foundation, has made numerous donations to universities to further engineering in Australia.

He has received many honours and accolades for his service to education and industry. These include Honorary Fellow, University of Sydney; Honorary Doctor of Engineering, University of Sydney; Honorary Doctor of Science, University of NSW; and – among his most treasured awards – the Centennial Medal of Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, in the United States.