JCU research leaders win top science honour

2 June 2015

Two of James Cook University’s top researchers have received Australia’s most prestigious science honour—fellowship of the Australian Academy of Science.

JCU Science Degrees
Science and research at James Cook University

The Academy recently announced the election of Professors William Laurance and Helene Marsh as Fellows for their outstanding contributions to science and scientific research.
The recent announcement is also a significant honour for JCU. It’s the first time the university has won two Fellowships in the same year and doubles JCU’s presence in the Academy. A record number of Fellows have been chosen from Queensland (8), with JCU winning a quarter of the state’s Fellowships.
Professor Laurance said it’s long been his dream to be elected to the Academy.
“For a scientist, this is as big as it gets: to be recognised by your peers for the highest academic honour in Australia. I’ve won a number of major international awards but there’s not one I wouldn’t trade for election to the Australian Academy of Science.”
“For me, it’s been particularly meaningful because there haven’t been many ecologists elected to the Academy. I’m looking forward to learning more about how the Academy works and hopefully I can contribute to some of their environmental initiatives and public-outreach efforts.”
Professor Marsh said she’s honoured and humbled by the announcement.
“I would like to thank my many collaborators, especially my research higher degree candidates and postdocs who have made such a significant contribution to the research, and the funding agencies that have supported us.”
“I hope that Bill’s and my election to the Academy will raise the profile of research on the wicked problems associated with conserving tropical biodiversity,” Professor Marsh said.

JCU School of Marine and Tropical Biology

The JCU School of Marine and Tropical Biology’s strategic intent is “to be the leading research and education centre for the study of biology in the tropics.” To this end it aims to expand knowledge and understanding of biology through excellence in research and teaching, with a focus on tropical systems. With its immense biodiversity, in marine and terrestrial environments, JCU consider north Queensland to be one of the best places in the world to study whole organism biology and ecology.

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