The Advance Award finalists and winners are global Australians and alumni of Australian universities who exhibit remarkable talent, exceptional vision and ambition. See our 2021 Gamechangers.
Dr Abigail Allwood
Dr Abigail Allwood is at the cutting-edge of space exploration. She is one of only seven principal investigators developing innovative instruments to accompany the Mars 2020 Rover expedition. Not only is she the first Australian, but also the first woman scientific lead on a Mars mission.
Tim Kentley Klay
Tim Kentley Klay is a creative and technical entrepreneur. He describes himself as a painter, designer, animator, film-maker, trouble-maker and thinker.
Meet the 2020 Advance Award winners
Dr Bart Kolodziejczyk
Dr Bart Kolodziejczykis a nanoscientist and inventor intent on busting his brilliance out of the lab and into the world of commercialisation. Bart is addressing health, energy and climate change issues by innovating new technologies.
Christopher Doyle is an award-winning cinematographer. Works like Chungking Express and In the Mood for Love have been met with international critical acclaim, and have found a firm footing in Chinese cinema and international cinema in the West.
Jennifer Nason is considered one of Australia’s most successful global business leaders and one of the most senior and influential women on Wall Street. She attributes her career trajectory to a willingness to live outside her comfort zone, a love of constant learning and calculated risk.
Professor Jill Banfield
A mineralogist-turned-microbiologist, Jillian Banfield has made outstanding contributions to our understanding of the structure, function and diversity of microbial communities in natural environments and the human body.
Dr John McHutchison AO
Professor Dr McHutchison AO has played a central and critical role in developing the curative treatments for Hepatitis C Virus (HCV). To develop this treatment is a remarkable accomplishment destined to improve the health of many millions of people.
For the past 25 years, Nicholas Wyman has sought novel ways to connect youth with the jobs of the future. Nicholas believes the ‘learn by doing’ approach has much to offer in a new world order straddling the faultlines of a ‘skills mismatch’.
A visionary who democratised access to educational content, Olivia Humphrey founded a new channel for streaming films to members of academic and public libraries, in turn forging a new model to monetise and distribute independent films.
As an important proponent of free speech in Malaysia and a disruptor of the media landscape, Premesh Chandran creates space for voices against corruption and government abuses.
Dr Rossa Chiu
Dr Rossa Chiu is a professor in the department of chemical pathology and Associate Dean for Development at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Determined to tackle the cancer epidemic, she and her colleagues have been developing blood tests with the goal to identify cancers early, thereby reducing cancer-related deaths.
An Australian icon in the world of Children’s Books, Sophie Blackall creates places to escape to during stormy times, and return from wiser, calmer and changed. Needless to say, her work is relevant to children and adults alike in modern times.
Dr Susan Graham
Dr Susan Graham leads a team of passionate engineers, plant scientists and drone operators to tackle global scale deforestation. As the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Dendra Systems, Susan uses a combination of data analytics, AI and drones to restore natural ecosystems, enabling large scale management and restoration.
Previous Advance Award awardees
Alison Thompson OAM
To meet crisis day in and day out, Executive Director and CEO of Crisis Action, Andrew Hudson, says honesty, trust and personal communication are constant allies.
Professor Barry Marshall
In 2005 Barry J. Marshall and J. Robin Warren were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in recognition of their 1982 discovery that a bacterium, Helicobacter pylori, causes one of the most common and important diseases of mankind: peptic ulcer disease.
Brett Solomon is co-founder and Executive Director of Access, a new global movement for digital freedom with offices in New York, Brussels, Santiago and Tunis. Called ‘the most important site on the internet’ by Esquire magazine, over the last three years Access has run more than 20 international campaigns using policy campaigning and technology to protect vulnerable populations around the world.
Professor Bryan Gaensler
Professor Bryan Gaensler is an award-winning astronomer and author who is internationally recognised for his groundbreaking work on dying stars, interstellar magnets and cosmic explosions.
A suit-wearing eco-warrior armed with a strategic mind and commercial rigour, Caroline Angoorly has earned her stripes operating, developing and financing large energy infrastructure projects.
Professor Carolyn McGregor AM
Cat Thao Nguyen
Cat Thao Nguyen is a trailblazer. Cat Thao (Nguyễn Cát Thảo) is the Managing Director of Global Ready LLC, a consultancy that assists organisations and individuals to lead inclusively in a globalised world.
A paradigm shifter in the global independent music industry, Charles Caldas has earned his reputation fighting to ensure artists share in the profits from the digital music revolution.
Dr Christian Thompson AO
Dr Christian Thompson AO is a contemporary artist whose work explores identity, cultural hybridity, gender & history. Christian himself made history when he became the first Aboriginal Australian to be admitted into the University of Oxford in its 900-year legacy.
A global industry leader in wireless technology and communications, and Senior Vice President and GM at Intel, and Chair of NASDAQ-listed Intuitive Surgical
Professor Daryl Williams
Professor Daryl Williams is the inventor and scientific pioneer of a new family of scientific methods for powder characterisation. Every solid drug substance developed globally in the past 15 years will have been tested for stability and moisture uptake using the instruments he has developed.
Professor David Hunter
Professor David Hunter is undoubtedly the leading epidemiologist on cancer globally. His work at Harvard University uncovered genetic associations and gene-environment associations for breast and prostate cancers, and he has initiated and been a lead investigator in a series of large scale research studies to determine the links between genetics and cancers, in the USA, in Africa, and now the UK.
Dr David Pender
A manufacturing revolutionary, Dr David Pender has designed and run some of the most advanced manufacturing facilities in the world. He has started them up, debugged them and brought them to full capacity.
David is the Director Of Rehabilitation Innovation at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, a Coach at the Entrepreneurship Lab (ELabNYC) Bio & Health Techand the “Chief Mad Scientist” at Not Impossible Labs. He is a physical therapist with a PhD in Neuroscience and worked as a clinician in Australia, before moving to the United States to study computational neuroscience at Harvard Medical School, MIT and NYU.
David Sinclair, Ph.D. is a Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and Founding Director of the Paul F. Glenn Center for the Biological Mechanisms of Aging at Harvard. He is also a Conjoint Professor at the University of New South Wales, Honorary Professor, University of Sydney, and Co-Chief Editor of the journal Aging.
Distinguished Professor Genevieve Bell AO FTSE
Professor Fiona Wood AM
As a maverick of global stage productions, Garry McQuinn operates at the heart of untold stories and new audiences. Adept at strumming the tension between the creative and commercial worlds, Garry has been instrumental in opening the world of commercial theatre to Australian talent.
Professor Jenni Evans
Showing that science is an innately creative endeavour, Professor Jenni Evans has forged a brilliant career merging research fields and forging interdisciplinary partnerships to tackle complex hypotheses and society’s biggest challenges.
A global leader shaping film and television industry policy, Jess Conoplia has actively lead on-screen sector development, diversity and advocacy for members world-wide.
John Mattick AO
Professor Justin Wolfers
Described as one of Australia’s most unorthodox and influential academic exports, Professor Justin Wolfers shifts the lens on economic discourse and the stereotype of economics in equal measure.
Professor Karen Day AM
Professor Karen Thorpe
In her formative years as a young teacher, Karen Thorpe was struck by the stark inequities in children’s early learning opportunities.
Dr Laode M Syarif
Michelle Garnaut AO
With a background in international law and a heart in the marginalised communities of Indonesia, Nukila Evanty works to place people at the centre of development and communities at the core of the decision-making process.
Originally from Melbourne, Paul Chapman co-founded the game-changing ‘Moneytree’ platform, giving people greater control over their finances and disrupting Japan’s digital banking environment in the same beat.
Peter Le Lievre
Dr Pichamon Yeophantong
Dr Pichamon Yeophantong is Senior Lecturer in International Relations and Development and the Director of the Responsible Business Lab at the University of New South Wales (Canberra)—Australian Defence Force Academy.
A fearless campaigner, advocate and writer, Samah Hadid connects her own proud Arab and Muslim heritage to the global fight for greater equality. Samah is as articulate as she is outspoken.
Dr Samuel Wills
Sam’s research has led to significant real-world impact. One example is the $1 trillion Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund increasing their equity mix, lowering their spending rule, and divesting stocks most exposed to the oil price, following recommendations from his work with Ton van den Bremer and Rick van der Ploeg.
Dr Sandro Demaio
A public health advocate and sustainable food architect, Dr Alessandro (Sandro) Demaio founded his career using nutrition as a platform for social change.
An impact investment warrior, Shuyin Tang is a pioneer bringing fit-for-purpose financing to impactful businesses in Southeast Asia.
Sir Jonathan Mills
Dr Susan David
Thomas Ko is an internationally recognised expert in oral biological drug delivery and sports medicine. During his 45-year pharmaceutical career, he has embraced the attitude he says was instilled in him while studying in Australia: to be inventive and believe nothing is impossible.
Dr Vandana Joshi
Working to shift the health paradigm in war-torn countries and disaster response situations, Dr Vandana Joshi is showing the world that good governance and community engagement are by far the most effective strategies to promote health.
Yong In Cho
Yong In Cho is a fintech expert, specialising in the payments industry, with deep knowledge of the financial technology market across Asia.