Royal Society of NSW Scholarships

The Royal Society of New South Wales has a long tradition of encouraging and supporting scientific research and leading intellectual life in the State. The Council of the Royal Society has established the Royal Society of New South Wales Scholarships in order to acknowledge outstanding achievements by young researchers.

Royal Society of NSW Scholarship Winners 2022

Clara Liu Chung Ming Miss Clara Liu Chung Ming is a PhD candidate in the School of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Technology Sydney under the supervision of Dr Carmine Gentile. Her research focusses on the bioengineering of advanced 3D in vitro models of the human heart pathophysiology, including “the-heart attack-in-a-Petri-dish” and heart failure using patient derived-stem cells. In particular, Clara has demonstrated that acetylcholine (a natural compound produced by our body) plays a protective role against myocardial infarction (heart attack) and drug-induced heart failure using her cells. Clara’s multidisciplinary project is carried in collaboration with the University of Sydney/Charles Perkins Centre/Sydney Heart Bank, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute/Monash University. Clara’s research has focussed also on the effects of Sars-CoV-2 on human heart pathophysiology, as well as the bioengineering of pre-eclampsia-induced heart failure using patient-derived stem cells. Her research has received several awards, including Australian Government Research Training Program Stipend (2021), FEIT HDR Women in Engineering and IT awards (2021), ASBTE Rapid Fire Presentation Award (2022) and NSW Education Waratah Scholarship (2022).

Thomas Mesaglio Mr Thomas Mesaglio works on quantifying our knowledge of Australian plant biodiversity, developing identification tools, survey and species description protocols and general data frameworks for improving this knowledge. Although much of his research focuses on analyses of ‘citizen science’ data, he has published scientific papers in disciplines including marine forensics, bushfire recovery and invertebrate ecology and taxonomy. As part of the Environment Recovery Project team, he received the Department of Industry, Science and Resources’ 2022 Eureka Prize for Innovation in Citizen Science. He has published two books: a guide to scientific etymology and a seashell field guide and is a curator and forum moderator on the citizen science platform iNaturalist, with 39,000 observations and 227,000 identifications made for other users.

Anyang (Anja) Zhao Ms Anyang Zhao's research is focused on the clinically important foodborne pathogen called Listeria, which causes 20-30% of death in humans. She has identified that Listeria infection triggers inflammation and cell death, which are biological processes crucial for overcoming Listeria infection. Excessive inflammation caused by the immune system while fighting off Listeria infection can lead to sepsis and death. Anyang’s research aims to inhibit such excessive inflammation and could lead to the development of therapies against sepsis. During her first year of PhD study, Anyang published a preview article in Cell Host & Microbe (2022) as co-first author, and further co-authored two primary research articles in Science Immunology (2022) and Nature Communications. Her research achievements have been recognised by multiple prizes, scholarships and grants.

Royal Society of NSW Scholarship Winners 2021

Sajad MoshiziSajad Abolpour Moshizi, PhD Candidate at macquarie University. In his PhD, Mr Moshizi is conducting research on the development of hair-cell sensors for use inside the semicircular canals in the inner ear to treat patients suffering from balance problems and gaze instability. He is a recipient of the Biomolecular Discovery Research Centre (BDRC) Postgraduate Prize and winner of the best internationally peer-reviewed paper by a postgraduate student as a first author accepted for publication (“Development of an ultrasensitive, and flexible piezoresistive flow sensor using vertical graphene nanosheets”) in  Nano-Micro Letters. He is a recipient of a Macquarie University Postgraduate Research Fund (PGRF) scheme of up to $3000 and has more than 30 peer-reviewed journal articles.

Harry Marquis

Harry Marquis, PhD candidate in the School of Physics at the University of Sydney. His research is primarily conducted at the Department of Nuclear Medicine, Royal North Shore Hospital, under the supervision of Professor Dale Bailey. His project is titled “Development of a Dosimetry Platform for Theranostic Agents” and his key research interests are in quantitative PET and SPECT imaging, diagnostic medical imaging and image processing, theranostics and radionuclide therapy dosimetry, radiobiology and radiation safety. Harry’s research has already gained international recognition, receiving the Arthur Weis Award in 2020 for outstanding original work in radiation safety and dosimetry from the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI). In 2021, his work was featured in the SNMMI plenary lecture highlights “Basic Science Instrumentation & Data analysis: Image Generation” session and was also shortlisted for the best poster award in the physics track.

Kevin Chau Kevin Chau, an MRes student at Macquarie University, joined the Analytical Glycoimmunology team in April 2018 as an undergraduate volunteer to study the removal of synapses by microglial receptors in the brain during sleep. After completing his course work to near-perfection, he decided to undertake a Master of Research (MRes) degree focusing on platelet glycobiology.  During the past 3–4 years he has shown great potential and talent, demonstrated, for example, by the award of multiple prestigious scholarships and prizes during his coursework progress. His research focuses on mapping the glycoproteome of human platelets.

Royal Society of NSW Scholarship Winners 2020

Sajad Razavi BazazMr Sajad Razavi Bazaz , PhD candidate at the University of Technology Sydney. In his PhD, Mr Razavi Bazaz studies the use of 3D printing for microfluidics. Microfluidics is a science which allows the manipulation of fluid samples, typically in the range of microlitres, within networks of channels ranging from tens to hundreds of micrometres. Microfluidic systems are becoming increasingly promising tools for the advancement of chemical and biological research with evident benefits. Today, 3D printing technologies have gained significant traction, being dubbed a third industrial revolution. Due to the expanding use of microfluidic systems in laboratories, 3D printing has emerged as an alternative method to traditional costly fabrication processes. Mr Razavi Bazaz has developed a new method for the fabrication of microfluidic devices and has validated it. He and his colleagues have established a start-up company to develop 3D printed microfluidic devices for selective sperm selection for the IVF market.

Daniel Fox Mr Daniel Fox, PhD candidate at the Australian National University. Mr Fox is studying the clinically important, but much neglected, human and foodborne pathogen, B Cereus, and has discovered that enterotoxins produced by this bacterium can activate cytosolic innate immune inflammasome sensors which mediate host defence against pathogens. The sensing of pathogens by inflammasome sensor proteins results in the assembly of the inflammasome complex. Mr Fox has identified a toxin NHE as a novel activator of the NLRP3 inflammasome because it triggers formation of a lytic pore that promotes the efflux of potassium ions. He has also found it mediates the killing of cells from multiple lineages and hosts. It acts synergistically with another toxin secreted by the same organism, HBL.

Phillipa Specker Ms Phillipa Specker, PhD candidate at UNSW (Sydney).  Ms Specker investigating the role of emotional regulation in the management of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in refugees. Refugees represent one of the largest at-risk groups in the development of PTSD, with current treatments being much less efficacious compared to other trauma-exposed groups. Research suggests that emotion regulating strategies that refugees used to manage stress may be critically important in their recovery from PTSD. In the first part of her PhD program, she found that there were individual differences in the types of emotion regulation strategies that refugees used to manage stress and that those refugees who were better able to concurrently use cognitive reappraisal and emotional suppression had fewer PTSD symptoms. Currently, she is testing a novel experimental paradigm to investigate whether providing refugees with adaptive emotion regulation skills training will reduce PTSD symptomology and ultimately improve well-being.

Royal Society of NSW Scholarship Winners 2019

Ms Emma Austin, PhD candidate at the University of Newcastle. Ms Austin’s research investigates the relationship between drought and wellbeing in rural communities in NSW, taking into account the links between wellbeing and adaptive capacity, and the need for the successful adaptation to drought together with increased resilience which is essential for the survival of rural communities.

Mr Shayam Balaji, PhD candidate at the University of Sydney. Mr Balaji’s research is in the field of particle physics which explores the fundamental building blocks of the Universe and the interactions between them. The focus of his work, as a member of the ATLAS Collaboration at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, is in testing exotic Higgs boson models and extensions to the Standard Model of particle physics.

Mr Michael Papanicolao, PhD candidate at the University of Technology Sydney and the Garvan Institute of Medical Research. Mr Papanicolao’s research involves investigations into the role of the extracellular matrix (ECM) in breast tumour progression. The focus of his work is on charting how the ECM evolves with tumour progression, using protein mass spectrometry and advanced imaging to identify targetable proteins that are important in breast cancer metastasis.

Mr Thomas Pettit, PhD candidate at the University of Technology Sydney. Mr Pettit’s reseach is in the field of biofilter technology, in which he has been developing and assessing the use of active green walls to clean the air of active pollutants to provide functional reductions of air pollution in zones where the are most needed.

Royal Society of NSW Scholarship Winners 2018

Ms Evelyn Todd, PhD candidate at the University of Sydney. Ms Todd has been working on delving into the genetics of race horse performance, unlocking the historical roots of this breed. It is fascinating work, both from a scientific perspective, but also from the importance of understanding how to manage a closed population breed.

Ms Fiona McDougall, PhD candidate at Macquarie University. Ms McDougall is investigating non-viral pathogens in flying foxes, specifically bacteria pathogens and the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria to flying foxes.

List of Recipients of Royal Society of NSW Scholarships

Year   Recipients
1999   Alison Basden, Sharon Downes
2000   Louise van der Weyden, William Higgs
2008   Gerard Kaiko
2009   Isa Chan, Tamara Keeley, Danielle Sulikowski
2010   Lidia Matesic, Dennis Black, Kerensa McElroy
2011   Andre Kyme, Amelia Edington, Benjamin Parker, Martin Fuechsle
2012   Jendi Kepple, Anwen Krause-Heuer, Helen Margherita Smith, Andrew Ong*
2013   Jiangbo Zhao, John Chan, Jessica Stanley, Xavier Zambrana-Puyalto*
2014   Melanie Laird, Stephen Parker, Ruth Wells, Linh Tran*
2015   Adrian Dudek, Charles Forster, Yevgeny Stadnik, Charles Colless*
2016   Jeremy Chan, Andrew Ritchie, Isobel Ronai
2017   Grace Causer, Yu-wei Lin, Cara Van Der Wal
2018   Evelyn Todd, Fiona McDougall
2019   Emma Austin, Shayam Balaji, Michael Papanicolaou, Thomas Pettit
2020   Sajad Razavi Bazaz, Daniel Fox, Phillipa Specker
2021   Sajad Abolpour Moshizi, Harry Marquis, Kevin (The Huong) Chau
2022   Clara Chung Ming Liu, Thomas Mesaglio, Anyang (Anya) Zhao

*also recipient of the Jak Kelly Award, presented in conjunction with the Australian Institute of Physics


These prestigious awards for excellence in science, technology, philosophy, and the arts, awarded by Australia's oldest learned society, recognise outstanding achievements. The Society's portfolio of awards was entirely revamped in 2023 to provide greater breadth to recognise recent and evolving disciplines, and emerging as well as established research stars.  Information about the new structure and portfolio of awards is provided on the main awards page

Winners of the 2023 awards were announced at the 1318th Ordinary General Meeting of the Society to be held on 29 November 2023 and are listed on the Recent Winners page of the website.

Nominations for the 2024 Awards opened on 1 July and will close on 30 September 2024.

In 2024, nominations are sought for the:


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