UQ’s cervical cancer vaccine co-creator Professor Ian Frazer has won the 2008 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science.
Professor Frazer, Director of UQ’s Diamantina Institute for Cancer, Immunology and Metabolic Medicine, will be presented with his prize by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd at a special ceremony in the Great Hall, Parliament House Canberra tonight (Thursday, October 16) at 7pm.
The Prime Minister’s Prize for Science is the nation’s pre-eminent award for excellence in science and acknowledges the contributions of Australian scientists to economic and social wellbeing in Australia and the world.
Awarded for an outstanding specific achievement in any area of science advancing human welfare or benefiting society, it can encompass the physical, chemical, biological and technological sciences, mathematics
The Prime Minister’s Prize for Science comprises a grant of $300,000. The winner also serves on the Prime Minister's Science, Engineering and Innovation Council for a year.
Professor Frazer said he would donate his prize money to the University for a research program to develop further vaccines.
Last month, Professor Frazer, 2006 Australian of the Year and inaugural winner of the Queensland Smart State Premier’s Fellowship in 2006, was announced as the winner of the Balzan Prize for International Medicine.
Together with his late research partner Dr Jian Zhou, Professor Frazer contributed to the development of a vaccine for cervical cancer.
“I'm honoured to be chosen as the 2008 recipient of the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science, and delighted at the recognition of the contribution of science to the community that this prize makes,” Professor Frazer said.
“I will use the opportunity granted by my selection to further the promotion of science as the best approach to solving the many challenges we face in society, in areas as diverse as health and the environment.”
Since the vaccine’s global application in 2006, more than 40 million doses have been administered to women and girls in more than 90 countries.
Acting UQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Keniger congratulated Professor Frazer and said the Prime Minister had made an excellent choice
“As well as being a brilliant scientist whose work has a global impact, Professor Frazer has an infectious enthusiasm for the benefits of research and never tires in spreading the word to Australians and people all over the world,” Professor Keniger said.
The vaccine protects against about 70 percent of human papillomavirus-related cervical cancers, with more than 270,000 women previously dying each year from the disease.
UQ now has two Prime Minister’s Prize for Science recipients – the other being Professor Mandyam Srinivasan, who won the award in 2006, just prior to his appointment to UQ as Head of Visual Neuroscience within the Queensland Brain Institute.
The Prime Minister’s prizes for science scheme was introduced in 2000, replacing the Australia Prize, awarded from 1990.
To read Professor Frazer's acceptance speech, please click here.
Media: Shirley Glaister or Jan King at UQ Communications (07 3365 1931 or 07 3365 1120), Anton Sanker at UQ Diamantina (07 3240 5938 or 0412 057 512) or Niall Byrne from Science in Public (03 9398 1416 or 0417 131 977).