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Jim Piper Award for Excellence in Research Leadership

This award is to recognise, encourage and reward those researchers who are on a path to becoming research leaders at Macquarie. Outstanding and inspiring research leaders engage with a broad research agenda; attract, motivate, develop and lead fellow researchers and research students; and attract significant external funding support in order to build research capacity. Research leaders will also be able to demonstrate their qualifications as a leading researcher in their field and be able to support this in their applications. The awardee is likely to be a mid-career researcher (approximately 15 years post PhD) and will show evidence of being both a leading researcher and a research leader.


All members of research active academic staff who have been employed at Macquarie University for a minimum of two years can be nominated for this award. As this award is to encourage the research leaders of the future, the awardee is likely to be a mid-career researcher who is well on the path to establishing him or herself as a leader in their particular field of research and is also demonstrating that they have an impact on the future of research strategy outside of their own particular field.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to show evidence for their qualifications as a Leading Researcher in their field. To do so, it will be useful to discuss:

  • A history of generating competitive research income;
  • A track record of quality publications
    • Different disciplines apply different measures to define the quality of publications (for example, the H Index). It is the responsibility of the applicant to explain and define the quality of their publications within the context of their field. For example: if in science, a researcher published 'x' amount of articles over a certain period of time, they could then define the average within their field as a comparison.
  • A track record of the timely completion of HDR students
  • A history of building critical mass in their area of research
  • Building and maintaining productive international research collaborations, nationally and internationally with government, industry, the community or other research institutions

Judging Criteria

The Judging Panel will assess applications individually.

Criteria used to identify a Research Leader include:

  • Attracting, motivating, developing and leading fellow researchers and research students
  • Influencing research strategy at Macquarie University
  • Participating in University research governance
  • Influencing research strategy nationally or internationally
  • Participating in external organisations impacting on the research strategy within a particular field or more generally.

The judging panel will be announced prior to the closing date. The 2013 Judging Panel included:

  • Vice Chancellor, Professor S Bruce Dowton
  • Deputy Vice-Chancellor – Research, Professor Sakkie Pretorius
  • NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, Professor Mary O'Kane

Application process

  • This category is competitive in nature and applicants are requested to submit short proposals to the judging panel using the online application form.
  • Please read the competition rules carefully prior to submitting an application.
  • Closing date for entries: 1st May 2014

Additional Information

Professor Jim Piper commenced at MQ in 1975 as a Lecturer in the Department of Physics. Over his career at Macquarie University Jim exhibited all the qualities, and achieved all the milestones, of a leading researcher. He has excelled in his area of research - authoring or co-authoring over 200 international refereed journal articles and 100 full-length published conference proceedings; inventing or co-inventing 14 awarded patents; generating over $50 million in research income, and supervising more than 40 PhD students to completion. He has a strong record of supporting and mentoring postdoctoral fellows and has received many prestigious awards for his contributions to optics and laser physics and technology. Jim led the Australian Research Council Special Research Centre for Lasers and Applications for 9 years and maintained strong collaborative research programs with several leading Chinese Universities for more than 20 years.

Jim's capacity to excel as a leading researcher was equalled by his ability to excel as a research leader and mentor. He influenced research strategy at Macquarie through his roles of Professor of Physics, Head of the School of Mathematics and Physics, Dean of the Division of Information and Communication Sciences and finally Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research. He influenced national research strategy as a member or Chair of committees such as the ARC's LIEF Scientific Advisory Committee, the ARC Committee for International and National Cooperation, the AVCC's DVC: Research Committee, the Australian Optical Society, and PMSEICs Megascience Sub-Committee. Internationally Jim's influence as a research leader was channelled through the International Advisory Committee of the Optical Society of America; the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, Multidisciplinary Assessment Committee; a Carnegie Centenary Professorship held at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh; and through his role as the General Chair of the 20th International Quantum Electronics Conference held in Sydney in 1996.

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