Programs & awards

David and Valerie Solomon Award

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This year’s ATSE Awards winners were announced on Thursday 10 June 2021.

David and Valerie Solomon Award

The David and Valerie Solomon Award is an early-mid career award for a science or technology graduate working in academia/research or industry R&D who demonstrates substantial ability to foster research-industry collaboration and knowledge transfer for the benefit of Australia. The winner will receive a unique award, a cash prize of $15,000 and 12 months mentoring from a senior entrepreneur/industry Fellow of the Academy with $5000 travel expenses to enhance this mentoring experience.

Why this award?

The benefits of Australia’s world-class research system can only really realised with the translation of its outputs into economic and societal benefits. The effective translation of research will be at the core of Australia’s future competitiveness and prosperity.

This requires effective collaboration between our universities and publicly funded research organisations and industrial research and development organisations.

Australia undertakes world-class scientific research through universities and other publicly funded research organisations, and while research excellence is desirable in its own right, it is not a sufficient driver of innovation and is only one dimension of the research endeavour.

Research collaborations with the private and public sectors, entrepreneurial behaviour and knowledge transfer are equally important activities, which are largely driven by researchers who are engaged with industry and end-users of research.

The David and Valerie Solomon Award recognises and incentivises public sector researchers who are engaged with industry and engaged industrial researchers and drive collaborative activities to produce real-world impact.

Specifically the Award will:

  • Highlight the importance of collaboration between industry and research, and the translation of research for economic, social and environmental benefit.
  • Recognise the achievements of an early-mid career researcher who has worked across the research-industry divide, beyond purely academic research or only experimental development.
  • Bring to the attention of policy-makers the key role applied science, technology and innovation play in the nation’s development.

About the award

The award honours David Solomon, who is a Foundation Fellow of the Academy and who has been supported in his career by his wife, Valerie. The award is made available through a generous donation from David and Valerie Solomon.

About David and Valerie Solomon

2020 winner

> See all the winners from the ATSE Awards in 2020

2019 winner

Associate Professor Matthew Hill

CSIRO and Monash University’s Matthew Hill received the Solomon Award for developing ‘magic crystals’ with dozens of applications from cleaning gases and liquids to mining and drug production. Read more.

Matthew Hill GAICD is Associate Professor at Monash Chemical Engineering, and Principal Research Scientist at CSIRO Manufacturing, with a PhD from UNSW (2006). Matt’s team has pioneered the reduction to practise of metal organic frameworks (MOFs) – the world’s most porous materials, made almost entirely of identically-sized holes. Like a sponge, MOFs can store and release molecules such as hydrogen on demand; or like a sieve, MOFs can separate molecules such as CO2 from the air. Originally only made in test tubes, Matt has invented a new chemical processing technology to produce MOFs at 10 kg per hour, enabling commercial usage.

Associate Professor Matthew Hill is an exceptional nominee for the 2019 Solomon Award. Matthew’s key demonstration of excellence, innovation, and impact arises from his discovery and implementation of flow chemistry to provide reliable scaling to MOF synthesis. This transformative technology, and the applications made possible, take MOFS from scientific curiosity to the next powerhouse material in industrial design for catalysis, membrane, and other applications. On the way to developing this technology, Matthew has also produced 58 publications in the past 5 years, 13 patents, and been granted 2 licences granted.

Matthew brilliantly crosses the interface of chemistry and chemical engineering and he creates new discoveries and new practical processes by fully embracing both fields.  Matthew successfully navigates a full joint position between Engineering and CSIRO, which delivers improved engineering outcomes on several fronts.  Firstly, Monash students gain hands-on experience in CSIRO’s applied engineering research. Secondly, CSIRO gains earlier visibility of new discoveries, familiarity with their potential, and much better ability to translate research outcomes to practical use.

Matthew’s signature contribution, mass production, flow chemistry methods for MOFs, make possible numerous new technologies particularly carbon dioxide capture directly from the atmosphere and robust membrane technologies that avoid typical aging problems. These are spectacular accomplishments that address major societal challenges and significantly advance the field of chemical engineering. Matthew is an outstanding young engineering researcher, and I have no hesitation in proposing him for this prestigious award.

SOLOMON David & Valarie with HILL, Matthew (3)

Valerie Solomon, Professor David Solomon AC FTSE FAA and 2019 awardee winner Associate Professor Matthew Hill.