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ANSTO Awards

ANSTO recognises the contribution of staff for outstanding work, innovation, and excellence

Staff from across the organisation were recognised by their peers at the inaugural 2022 ANSTO awards for outstanding work, innovation, excellence and commitment to the ANSTO values.

There was a strong showing from the science community at ANSTO and the teams who work at the OPAL multi-purpose reactor in multiple categories

George Collins award for Innovation: Dr Inna Karatchevtseva

Dr Inna Karatchevtseva was arecognised for her considerable contribution to defence science and nuclear materials that has brought her professional acclaim.

George Collins Award
Robert Collins, Dr Inna Karatchevtseva and Evelyn Collins

In 2020, she was recognised as a national leader in her field of ceramic engineering in what is generally a male-dominated profession. She received this award because she had the highest number of citations from papers published in the prior five years in the 20 top journals in her field.

Inna has already received two national awards from DMTC. In 2018, she received the Excellence Capability Improvement Award for “significant improvement in technical capability in the area of materials and/or manufacturing technology”.

In 2019, she was recognised for her contribution to the partnership with Thales Australia to develop an Australian supply chain for critical components of submarine sonar transducer equipment.  

In work that started about a decade ago, Inna took up the challenge to grow a specific kind of single crystal for transducers in sonar detection systems.

The Defence community recognised the potential of this material and continued to fund this research with the aim to develop an Australian sovereign capability in this area.

Using perseverance, attention to detail and a large volume of work, she accomplished the task. 

Today the technology is mature enough to be transferred to a defence supplier for industrial implementation, and Inna is working with the THALES team to achieve this.

She is also involved in numerous research activities in the Nuclear Fuel Cycle group at ANSTO including structural studies on materials for Generation IV Reactor Systems.

The late George Collins was Director of Materials and finally Chief of Research at ANSTO. he promoted the commercialisation of researchand the growth of advanced connections between the research community and Australian Industry.

Finalists: Brendan Mills and Dr Paul Pellegrini

Excellence in Research: Dr Karina Meredith

Dr Karina Meredith is a world expert in using a variety of chemical and isotopic tracers in water to investigate water resource sustainability in a variety of natural environments in Australia and globally.

Dr Suzanne Hollins and Dr Karina Meredith
Head of Research Dr Suzanne Hollins and Dr Karina Meredith

She is an authority in the use of tritium, radiocarbon and chlorine-36 as independent tools to assess water resource sustainability.

Outcomes of her research have provided a scientific understanding of crucial water resources in many parts of Australia, including the Darling River system, aquifers in Western Australia and NSW  and other areas. Her collaborative work is helping with predictions of how environmental change will impact water resource availability in Australia.

She leads ANSTO’s contribution to Australia’s $36M project to Secure Antarctica’s Environmental Future (SAEF) 2020-2027.

Among her peers, Karina’s research excellence and productivity is captured by her academic output and the number of citations of key publications

She has designed, led, and delivered Australian water and climate research projects for the Australian Research Council, industry and international agencies.

At ANSTO, Karina is passionate about developing the next generation of environmental scientists through mentoring and guiding Postdoctoral Research Fellows and PhD students.

She is also a inspired supporter of gender equity and was a key member of the leadership team for the SAGE Athena Swan Bronze medal awarded to ANSTO.

Karina is a Principal research scientist who currently leads a large multidisciplinary and diverse team of environmental scientists at ANSTO.

Finalists: Dr Mitra Safavi-Naeini Dr Tom Cresswell

Early to Mid-Career: Dr Liza McDonough

Dr Liza McDonough has contributed to multiple projects in the Environment Theme in 2022, with innovative outcomes.

Dr Liza McDonough and Dr Karina Meredith
Dr Liza McDonough and Dr Karina Meredith, Leader Environment Research 

She led a paper published in May 2022 in Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta showing for the first time ever that peaks in ash-derived metals in cave stalagmites could be used in conjunction with stalagmite growth layers to identify the timing of past fire events using a stalagmite from south west Western Australia. This work utilised ANSTO’s laser-ablation ICPMS and Synchrotron facilities to contribute to a project led by Pauline Treble titled “Reconstructing Australia’s fire history from cave stalagmites”. This was the first paper to show that stalagmites can be used as archives of fire and shows changes in fire intensity relating to the cessation of indigenous cultural burning after European arrival.

She has also been working on novel research identifying the sources and degradation pathway of groundwater dissolved organic matter. She led a paper published in Nature Communications in April 2022 which proposes a new transformation pathway for dissolved organic matter in aquifers and highlights its importance for inclusion in global carbon budgets, for which groundwater is overlooked. This paper is in the top 97th percentile of tracked articles of a similar age in journals and was reported by 12 new outlets and was co-authored by Karina Meredith and other national and international colleagues.

In 2022 she was also contributing to ANSTO’s work on the ARC special research initiative “Securing Antarctica’s Environmental Future” (SAEF) and led a review paper submitted to Earth Science Reviews in December 2022, which is now being used to guide the future Antarctic and sub-Antarctic Lake water studies that are being conducted by ANSTO as part of the SAEF project. 

Finalists: Erwin Dizon, Alison Lethang

Partnerships and Collaborations with Impact Award: Groundwater Team

The Groundwater Team Dr Dioni Cendón, Dr Cath Hughes, Dr Karina Meredith, Dr Jagoda Crawford, Dr Liza McDonogh, Stuart Hankin and Chris Dimovski won this award for their NSW state-wide groundwater investigation work. 

Groundwater team
Stuart Hankin, Dr Liza McDonough, Dr Karina Meredith, Dr Dioni Cendón, Chris Dimovski, Dr Cath Highes, Dr Jagoda Crawford

This project has enabled ANSTO to partner with federal and state government agencies that are directly managing Australia’s precious groundwater resources.

The Groundwater Team has secured almost $600,000 of revenue for ANSTO with work that fits within the Environment Research Themes Strategic Goals aiming to characterise how groundwater resources are changing due to climate across NSW catchments. This work also aligns with ANSTO's strategic goals.

Further funding was also secured in January 2022 from the National Water Grid Fund for a project that aims to “Improve understanding of groundwater sustainability and renewability using isotope hydrochemistry”.

ANSTO is working in partnership with the NSW state government’s Department of Planning and Environment (DPE). The funding supports the development and delivery of nationally important water infrastructure projects that support primary industries and promote growth and sustainability.

ANSTO is contributing to the project with expert interpretation services that utilise a commercial groundwater isotope dataset measured by ANSTO and paid for by DPE. The project was secured because of the capabilities and strength of the team and the great relationships they have with federal and state government water management authorities.

Finalists: Margin Clear Project Team, Aerosol Sampling Program Team, Legal Team

Pamela Ameglio Naidoo and Anthony Karantonis

Oustanding Contribution

Anthony Karantonis (right)

Distribution Supervisor

ANSTO Enterprise Services

Jamie Schulz Helen Maynard Casely and Rod Dowler

Outstanding Outreach - Engagement

Dr Helen Maynard Casely (centre)

Senior Instrument Scientist

Australian Centre for Neutron Scattering

Brett Rowling, Henri Wong and Leisa Dyer

Outstanding Internal Collaboration

Isotope Tracing in Natural Systems Elemental Laboratories

Brett Rowling (left), Henri Wong (centre)and Chris Vardenega

OPAL Utilisation team

Outstanding Achievement Individual or Team

OPAL Utilisation - ProductionTeam

Sopheara Aing, Jason Attard, Peter Baarendse, Gary Feeney, Rasmi Freihat, George Grillis,

Barry Kelly, Kurt Martiensen, Neil McClelland, Annice Mitrevski, Steven Murray, Mark Northcott,

Matthew Phillips, Kalpesh Purohit, Gerard Quinn, Allan Ravese, Allan Ring, Naumka Sijanoska, Graeme Stallenberg, Sujam Thapa, Gordana Tolevski, Adam D Walsh, Rodney woods, Jeffery Yallop



Safe, Secure, Sustainable Award

OPAL Deuterium Replacement System Team

Lucy Griffith, Chris Humphrey, Fabian Rossi and Askok Sah

Reconciliation Working Mob

Diversity and Inclusion Outstanding Contribution

Reconciliation Working Mob

Susan Bogle, Dale Codling, Laura Dascolias, Brett Rowling, Karen Wolfe

Shaun Jenkinson and Felicity Dougherty

Leadership Excellence - Individual

Felicity Dougherty

General Counsel

Con Lyras and Carmen Naylor

Inspiring Women's Award

Carmen Naylor

Human Health Monitoring Leader

Ros Hatton

CEO Award for Sustained Contribution

Roslyn Hatton

Deputy Chief Financial Officer

Steve McIntosh

Distinguished Contribution Award

Steve McIntosh

Former Senior Manager for Government and International Affairs