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Terry Hughes honoured as one of Australia’s “pre-eminent” researchers

Apr 2008

Canberra, Australia— James Cook University’s Professor Terry Hughes was today named as one of the ‘most pre-eminent researchers working in Australia’.

Announced at a ceremony at the National Press Club in Canberra today (April 2), the Thomson Scientific Citation Awards recognise Australia’s influence on international scientific research.

Thomson Scientific is a leading provider of information solutions to the worldwide research and business communities, and today announced it had ‘given its Citation Awards to ten of the most pre-eminent researchers working in Australia’.

According to Thomson Scientific data, in 2007 Australia ranked among the top ten nations for the influence of its scientific papers.

Today’s citation says Professor Hughes has broad research interests in ecology, marine biology and the social-ecological dynamics of coral reefs.

Professor Hughes is Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (CoECRS) based at JCU. A two time Federation Fellowship recipient, Professor Hughes was last year awarded one of the prestigious Australian Museum Eureka Prizes – the Sherman Eureka Prize for Environmental Research.

One of the world’s leading coral reef scientists, he was born in Ireland and came to JCU in 1990 via 12 years of study and research in the United States. He is the inaugural director of CoECRS, which is a partnership of James Cook University, the Australian Institute of Marine Science, the Australian National University, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, and the University of Queensland.
Funded by the Australian Government in 2005, the Centre is based at JCU and cements Australia’s leading contribution to coral reef sciences, and fosters stronger collaborative links between the major partners and 24 other leading institutions in nine countries.
Collectively, the Centre creates the world’s largest concentration of coral reef scientists.

The ten Australian recipients of the Thomson Scientific Citation Awards, each based at a different organisation throughout the country, were selected using a quantitative process which identifies the average number of citations per paper their published research has over a period of time.

Today’s event is part of a series of Asia Pacific Research Days hosted by Thomson Scientific to recognise research excellence in countries and regions demonstrating they are leading the world through innovation in their respective fields.’ Similar events have taken place previously in countries including China, India, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan.

The recipients of the 2008 Thomson Scientific Citation Awards are as follows:

  • Dr Stuart Batten (Chemistry) ‘ Monash University. ‘Has developed an international reputation in the area of crystal engineering, particularly coordination polymers.  Is also an expert on the phenomenon of the interpretation of networks in crystal structures and in the analysis of the topology of network solids.
  • Professor Paul Chandler (Education) – University of Wollongong.  Research interests are in the area of cognition and instructional and developing innovative approaches to learning, based on the increasing knowledge of cognition. A strong advocate of improving Indigenous outcomes in education and health, he has worked on a wide array of community education initiatives.
  • Professor Suzanne Cory (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) – Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research.  One of Australia’s most distinguished molecular biologists who focuses on the regulation of cell death by the Bcl-2 family, with the objective of developing more effective cancer therapeutics.
  • Professor Don Harding (Economics) – LaTrobe University. Main research interests are macroeconomics and econometrics and focuses on the business cycle.  Co-creator of a widely used and highly accurate monthly measure of Australian inflation.
  • Professor Terence Hughes (Marine and Freshwater Biology) – James Cook University.  Has broad research interests in ecology, marine biology and the social-ecological dynamics of coral reefs.  Director of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and Leader of Program 5: Resilience of linked social-ecological systems.
  • Professor Anthony Jorm (Psychiatry) – Orygen Research Centre and University of Melbourne. Current research focuses on public knowledge and beliefs about mental disorders, and particularly on interventions to improve the public’s helpfulness towards people developing mental disorders.  He is the author of 12 books/monographs, over 300 journal articles and over 25 chapters in edited volumes.
  • Dr William James Peacock (Plant Sciences) – Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).  Appointed Australian Chief Scientist in 2006, Jim Peacock is an award winning molecular biologist and eminent researcher in the field of plant molecular biology and its applications in agriculture.  Played a key role in the establishment of cotton as Australia’s first highly successful biotech crop.
  • Professor Brian Schmidt (Astronomy and Astrophysics) – Australian National University.  Studies the universe, using exploding stars and is leading Mount Stromlo’s effort to build the SkyMapper telescope, a new facility that will provide a comprehensive digital map of the southern sky from ultraviolet through near infrared wavelengths.
  • Dr Ian Wright (Ecology) – Macquarie University.  Research focuses on quantifying how key plant traits vary with each other and with environmental factors, both in Australia and worldwide.  Helped convene the ARC-NZ Research Network for Vegetation Function, which aims to stimulate research across disciplines such as functional genomics, ecophysiology, global change biology and evolutionary history.
  • Professor Zheng-Xiang Li (Geosciences) – Curtin University of Technology.  Specialises in study directed at understanding Earth’s evolution over the last 1000 million years and related tectonic processes.  His work is of particular interest to the petroleum industry and environmental/climactic studies, with a special focus in the West Pacific.

Commenting on the Citation Awards, Jeroen Prinsen, Director of Australasia Sales, Thomson Scientific said, “We are delighted to have had the opportunity to bring together such a wealth of scientific talent”.

“The breadth of areas honoured here today – from cancer research to plant science, coral reefs and inflation – is a reflection of the depth of Australian innovation in scientific research”.

“It provides an ideal opportunity for the Australian research community to meet and consider the issues associated with the assessment and measurement of research quality”.

More information:
Professor Terry Hughes, CoECRS and JCU, +61 7 4781 4000
Jim O’Brien, James Cook University Media Office, +61 7 4781 4822
Thomson Scientific media release


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ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
James Cook University Townsville
Queensland 4811 Australia

Phone: 61 7 4781 4000
Email: info@coralcoe.org.au