Australia’s leading inventors honoured at 2023 ATSE Awards

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The Australian Academy of Technology Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) has awarded 10 of the best and brightest engineers and technologists in Australia for their work in addressing the nation’s most pressing issues, spanning climate change, mining, plastic waste, battery technology, and food security. 

The 2023 ATSE Awards was held last night, 26 October, at the National Arboretum in Canberra. 

Nyikina Mangala West Kimberley Elder John Watson and Professor Ronald Quinn from Griffith University have been recognised as the inaugural recipients of the Traditional Knowledge Innovation Award, supported by Challenger. 

The two worked together in identifying active compounds in the Mudjalla mangrove tree with anti-inflammatory and pain relief properties. The treatment holds promise as a gel for athletes at the 2032 Brisbane Olympics and heralds widespread application for Traditional Knowledge while maintaining Aboriginal ownership.  

Dr James Tickner, chief technology officer of Chrysos Corporation, took home the Clunies Ross Technology Innovation Award for developing the mineral exploration x-ray technology, PhotonAssay, which can rapidly and safely identify gold, silver, and other elements in rock samples. 

Meanwhile, Dr Conrad Wasko from the University of Melbourne received the Batterham Medal for Engineering Excellence for his research that unveiled that small floods, which are crucial for water supplies, are decreasing, while large catastrophic flooding events are becoming the norm. 

Dr Katherine Woodthorpe, president of ATSE, said the winners’ innovation, drive, and impact, were exemplars for the game-changing application of Australian research. 

“The winners of the 2023 ATSE Awards are outstanding engineers, applied scientists, and leaders in technology; their shining example is an inspiration as we reflect on and celebrate the novel science and engineering endeavours that are bettering our world,” Woodthorpe said.  

“Australian innovators are changing the world for the better. I am thrilled to see our national award winners’ critical work forging new territory in medical technology, climate solutions, critical minerals, food technology, and waste reduction.”

For the full list of winners of the 2023 ATSE Awards, visit