24 May 2017

The Australian Academy of Science has recognised University of Queensland environmental researcher Professor Kerrie Wilson at its annual Science at the Shine Dome event in Canberra.

Professor Wilson, who is an ARC Future Fellow at UQ and Director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions, has been awarded the 2017 Nancy Millis Medal for Women in Science.

The Academy’s citation stated that she had “made significant discoveries in the environmental sciences that resulted in more effective conservation practices”.

“Professor Wilson identified how significant funds for conservation can be saved, and investments could be more equitable, through incorporating socio-economic principles into setting priorities for conservation investments,” the citation said.

“This has resulted in new theory and novel decision support tools to inform how limited conservation funds should be allocated to achieve multiple objectives, further enhancing the legacy and impact of her influential applied research program.

“Her research has led to innovative ways to efficiently protect and restore natural ecosystems and her ability to translate this new knowledge into practical applications has positioned her as a global, national and local leader in conservation science.”

Professor Wilson, who is also an Affiliated Professor in Conservation Science at The University of Copenhagen and part of the ARC College of Experts, holds a degree in Environmental Science (First Class Honours, awarded in 1999) from UQ.

She also holds a Doctor of Philosophy from The University of Melbourne (2004), undertaken with the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre located in Cambridge.

The recipient of other prestigious awards – including the Prime Minister’s Frank Fenner Prize for a Life Scientist (2016) and co-recipient of Malaysia’s 2016 Mahathir Science Award – Professor Wilson has a particular interest in applied conservation resource allocation problems.

She specialises in topics such as deciding where to invest limited resources to protect or restore biodiversity, and the role of ecosystem services in achieving conservation goals. 

Her research has been published in high impact journals including Nature and Science and involved collaboration with governmental and NGOs at local, national and global levels. 

The Nancy Millis Medal honours the contributions made to science by the late Emeritus Professor Nancy Millis AC MBE and recognises her importance as a role model for women aspiring to be research leaders.

Professor Millis introduced fermentation technologies to Australia and created the first applied microbiology course taught at an Australian University (at Melbourne University).

Media: Professor Kerrie Wilson, k.wilson2@uq.edu.au, +61 7 3365 2829.