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Young Australian engineer takes out top APEC science prize

15 August 2018

An Australian researcher whose engineering work has led to the development of "electronic skin" that monitors the environment and human body, has been the second Australian to win the internationally renowned ASPIRE award.

The Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education (ASPIRE) award recognises scientists under the age of 40 who are working in APEC nations.

Associate Professor Madhu Bhaskaran, from RMIT University in Melbourne, has beaten a strong international field from the United States, China, Russia, Malaysia and Canada to win the prestigious award.

Her work combining oxide, elastic and plastic materials at high temperatures has led to sensors that can be worn as "electronic skin".

The sensors are currently being integrated into new health monitoring technology to improve aged care, and can potentially be used for detecting dangerous gases in mines, in monitoring UV rays and as smart contact lenses.

Minister for Jobs and Innovation Michaelia Cash congratulated Associate Professor Bhaskaran on her award, which she received during National Science Week.

"Associate Professor Bhaskaran’s work is world class and has clear potential to pave the way for new industrial applications in Australia and the Asia Pacific region more broadly," Minister Cash said.

"It is a great example of how Australia’s world class research and innovative thinking can lead to benefits shared in our region, and for Australia.

"Associate Professor Bhaskaran is an inspiration to young women who may be considering a similar career. The Australian Government is committed encouraging more young women to study the STEM subjects which make such careers possible."

Associate Professor Bhaskaran received the ASPIRE prize of US$25,000 at an award ceremony last night held in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

The prize is sponsored by Wiley and Elsevier, and run in coordination with the Australian Academy of Science.

For more information, visit https://www.science.org.au/apec-science-prize

Media contact: Minister Cash's office 02 6277 7320