Advance Awards 2021: Introducing the Education and Research Award Finalists

Dr Victor Squires AM

Dr Victor Squires AM is a desert ecology explorer, educator and researcher. At a time when the world is crying out for a greater understanding of Food Security and Land Usage under conditions of Climate Change, Dr Squires’ work provides a depth and breadth of critical insight. A former Dean of the Faculty of Natural Resources in the University of Adelaide, Dr Squires is an internationally recognised dryland management expert with a focus on ecological restoration of degraded areas and on desert ecology. He has contributed his knowledge through academic and practical fields, working directly with peers and mentoring students in desert or degraded rangelands in most of the main dry-lands of the world, covering 35 countries on every continent except Antarctica.

Dr Squires work extends across the environments of China, Mongolia, East Africa, North Africa, Iran and Central Asia. He has authored and edited more than 20 books and peer reviewed over 180 papers. He has undertaken more than 10 major projects in the north-west provinces of China, especially in Xinjiang, the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and Gansu, and in neighbouring Tajikistan and Kazakhstan. Having first travelled to China under the auspices of the Australian Academy of Science and the Academia Sinica in 1985, he lived in western China for 6 years. Dr Squires has been a regular contributor to the World Bank, to UN agencies including the United Nations Convention for Combating Desertification, and to the United Nations Environment Program. He has also contributed to the ‘World Atlas of Desertification’ and influential work with the Asian Development Bank. Another notable achievement during Dr Squires career was voluntarily editing, and commissioning the authors of seven volumes of the UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems, involving over 1400 pages and 72 authors.

Throughout his career, Victor has acted as a Distinguished Guest Professor in the Institute of Desetification Studies in Beijing, the Foundation Director of the National Key Centre for Dryland Agriculture and Land Use Systems, an Adjunct Professor in the University of Arizona in Tucson and has also acted as a consultant to  the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, and UN Agencies such as IFAD, FAO and the UNCCD focussing on Greater Central Asia that includes western China. 

“Magic happens when you least expect it.”

Prof Anne Bamford

Professor Anne Bamford is a global innovator in education, and a celebrated thought-leader when it comes to the future working world. Originally from Australia, Professor Bamford is currently the Strategic Director of the Education and Skills for the City of London. She is recognised internationally for her research in creativity, lifelong learning and technology. She coined the phrase ‘fusion skills’ to represent the myriad of capabilities required for leadership of the future. Professor Bamford’s work crosses all demographics, inspiring children, teachers, and global business leaders. As a child she found learning quite difficult until a Grade 5 teacher introduced her to alternative learning practices, allowing the young Professor Bamford not only to thrive but to aspire to become a teacher herself. Her practical classroom experience has led Professor Bamford to assert the need for rapid change in education to meet our rapidly changing world.

Professor Bamford is an expert in the international dimension of education and through her research, she has pursued issues of creativity, innovation, social impact and equity and diversity. She is a world scholar for UNESCO and has conducted major national impact and evaluation studies for the governments of Denmark, The Netherlands, Belgium, Iceland, Hong Kong, Ireland and Norway. Amongst her numerous articles and book chapters, Professor Bamford is the author of the “Wow Factor: Global research compendium on the impact of the arts in education” which has been published in five languages and distributed in more than 40 countries. She has won a number of educational awards including for Best Educational Research, the National Teaching Award and was a runner-up in the British Female Innovator of the Year award. Professor Bamford is a Freeman of the Guild of Educators and a Fellow of the Royal Society for Arts.

“Learning is about becoming ourselves. We are not just what we know and can do, but also what we are willing to learn.”

Prof Patricia Davidson

Dr Patricia Davidson is a global leader in cardiac health and a trailblazer when it comes to the care of vulnerable populations, person-centred care delivery and evidence-based teaching. A registered nurse since 1980, Dr Davidson spent 23 years as a frontline clinician and nurse manager before shifting her focus to research and teaching, and becoming Dean and Professor of Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing in Baltimore, in the U.S. Today she serves as the first woman and first alumna to become vice-chancellor of the University of Wollongong, returning home after many years influencing health education globally. She is deeply committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and workforce development and interdisciplinary practice, having co-chaired the Johns Hopkins Roadmap 2020 Task Force. The group was charged with examining and renewing the goals of the institution’s roadmap on Diversity and Inclusion and deepening efforts to advance equity and access.

Dr Davidson is the secretary general of the Secretariat of the World Health Organizations Collaborating Centers for Nursing and Midwifery. She is also a counsel general of the International Council on Women’s Health Issues, a member of Sigma Theta Tau International’s Institute for Global Healthcare Leadership Advisory Board, a past board member of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health and secretary general of the Secretariat of the World Health Organizations Collaborating Centres for Nursing and Midwifery.. She also serves on the Board on Health Care Services for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in the United States. Dr Davidson has co-authored more than 500 peer-reviewed journal articles and 29 book chapters. Throughout her career, she has focused on mentoring the next generation of health professionals and scientists, and in 2016 she earned the Australian Museum Eureka Prize for Outstanding Mentor of Young Researchers, the most prestigious research mentorship award in Australia.

“I really believe in education and research as transformative forces to make a difference in the world. I am honoured and humbled to be able to shape the future in a small part by my work and the impact of my students and colleagues”.

Dr Bruce Stillman

Dr Bruce Stillman is a visionary biochemist revolutionising cancer research through molecular biology and genetics. Dr Stillman’s research focuses on the mechanism and regulation of duplication of DNA and chromatin in eukaryotic cells, a process that ensures that the genome is replicated completely and only once before cell division. His ground-breaking research explores the way DNA replicates itself, a crucial component to understand how the inheritance of chromosomes is a lead indicator revealing the instance of cancer through the generations. As President and CEO of Cold Spring Harbour Laboratory, Dr Stillman oversees biochemistry research renowned for offering new perspectives, achieving breakthroughs, and opening up new avenues for others. During his leadership, the Laboratory has been ranked as the No. 1 institution in molecular biology and genetics research by Thomson Reuters.

Dr Stillman obtained a Bachelor of Science degree with honours at The University of Sydney and a Ph.D. from the John Curtin School of Medical Research at the Australian National University. He moved to CSHL as a Postdoctoral Fellow in 1979 and has been at the Laboratory ever since and is currently the Oliver R. Grace Professor. Dr. Stillman was Director of the CSHL Cancer Center from 1992-2016. In 1994, he succeeded Nobel laureate James D. Watson as the Director of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and was appointed President in 2003. Dr Stillman was awarded the Julian Wells Medal (Australia) and in 1999 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for service to scientific research in the field of molecular biology. Dr Stillman has also been awarded the Dr H.P. Heineken Prize, and has been elected to the Royal Society, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Australian Academy of Science. He has received the Gairdner Award, the Basic Science award from the Society of Surgical Oncology, the Herbert Tabor Research Award, the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize, and been named an American Association for Cancer Research Fellow. Dr Stillman is driven by the joy of pursuing cutting-edge research, and experiencing the thrill of discovery, while overseeing an institution that nurtures the careers of young scientists. He says this is the best of both worlds and a source of constant intellectual exhilaration.

‘Experiencing the thrill of discovery, while overseeing an institution that nurtures the careers of young scientists, is the best of both worlds in high level science that I still find intellectually exhilarating.’