Professor Lesley Hughes. Photo: Chris Stacey.
Professor Lesley Hughes. Photo: Chris Stacey.

Eureka moment for Professor Lesley Hughes

Join us in congratulating our climate change scientist Professor Lesley Hughes, the winner of the 2014 Australian Government Eureka Prize (the Oscars of science!) for Promoting Understanding of Australian Science Research.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Sakkie Pretorius was full of praise for Lesley’s work.

Professor Hughes accepting her award.
Professor Hughes accepting her award.

“This award is designed to encourage the efforts of individual scientists who communicate their contemporary work and/or field of scientific expertise to the general public, thereby encouraging community appreciation of the contribution that Australian science makes to our everyday lives,” he said.

“Professor Lesley Hughes is a dynamic and innovative member of our academic community. Her research into the impacts of climate change on species and ecosystems is helping to shape our greater understanding of the pressures of climate change on our planet.

“More importantly, Lesley’s ability to proactively translate the science into accessible language enables all of us to better understand and relate to the impacts of climate change.  I congratulate Lesley on this accomplishment.”

Professor Hughes admitted to being “thrilled and honoured” to receive the award, especially with such stiff competition.

“I believe climate change is the most important challenge of our time – due to the risks it poses not just to our environment, but also to our economy, and the fabric of our society,” she said. “Approaching this topic in the traditional academic way – that is, by simply writing scientific papers and presenting at conferences – just isn’t enough. This is a topic that needs to be taken to the public, because solving the problem requires not just scientific knowledge, but public understanding and political will. My goal is to increase the public understanding of the science such that significant action to address the problem becomes not just desirable, but irresistible.

“I feel fortunate to have had so many opportunities to use my science outside the boundaries of the university. My roles on the former Climate Commission, and now the Climate Council, in particular, have been hugely rewarding. This award is in no small part due to the fantastic team effort at the Commission and the Council.”

Read more about Professor Hughes in the newsroom.