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Ian Davey research thesis prize

Water economist Dr Diwakara Halanaik is the winner of the inaugural Ian Davey Research Thesis Prize for the most outstanding PhD thesis.

The perpetual prize was recently established by former Pro Vice Chancellor of Research, Emeritus Professor Ian Davey, to recognise excellence in research and research education.

"Over the 12 years I’d spent in charge of research and research education, the University had been very good for me," Prof Davey said. "I thought I should establish something that would continue to recognise excellence in those areas."

The prize is awarded for a thesis that is passed without significant changes, is accepted or likely to be accepted for publication and is likely to have a significant impact on communities beyond the University. The award also takes into account the quality of the thesis’ examiners and the content of their report.

Prof Davey said Dr Halanaik’s thesis, Institutional Regimes for Sustainable Groundwater Management in India and Australia: Implications for Water Policy, supervised by Professor Jennifer McKay in the Division of Business, more than amply satisfied the criteria.

"What was particularly good, and particularly interesting for me, about the thesis was that it had very, very complimentary reports indeed," Prof Davey said. "There had already been evidence of publication in international journals - which we thought was an indication of quality already. The examiners from the University of Indiana and a very well-established and reputable private research centre in Bangalore, India, were internationally recognised in the field.

"And the thesis topic of water and water policy focuses on a whole set of issues that is so topical today, not only in Australia but throughout the world in terms of how we manage our water resources more effectively."

Prof Davey said it was also very pleasing that Dr Halanaik had been able to undertake PhD research through a UniSA President’s Scholarship, an award Prof Davey had been instrumental in creating.

The prize, a certificate and a cheque for $2,500 was presented to Dr Halanaik at last month’s graduation ceremonies.

"I’m very excited and happy about the prize. I feel that my work has been recognised and that I’ve done a good job. I feel very happy," said Dr Halanaik, who is now a policy officer with Queensland’s Department of Natural Resources and Water.