Outstanding UniSA research recognised through new awards

Winners of UniSA’s inaugural Research Awards with Chancellor Pauline Carr and Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research and Innovation Professor Tanya Monro. INSIDE UNISA
Winners of UniSA’s inaugural Research Awards with Chancellor Pauline Carr and Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research and Innovation
Professor Tanya Monro.

The incredible and innovative work of more than 70 of UniSA’s researchers has been recognised and celebrated through the first event of its kind to be held at the University.

UniSA has introduced a new suite of University-wide Research Awards, which were presented as part of the inaugural UniSA Research Day in late October.

The day showcased the best and brightest in research, offering an opportunity for inspiration and engagement, and to strengthen interdisciplinary connections through workshops and presentations.

The research award categories comprise Research Excellence; Research Training and Support; and Pathway to Impact, with 13 winners from more than 70 finalists. In all there were 117 nominations. The winners will share in $55,000 of professional development funding.

Winner of the Transformed-PhD Student of the Year award Tahnee Dening, who received the accolade for her unique research into clay materials and their ability to enhance drug efficacy, says it is encouraging to have her efforts recognised.

“Researchers work so hard on their respective projects, and sometimes we need a little confirmation that we are doing well and that our efforts are being noticed,” she says.

“I’m most passionate about research when I feel like I am working towards a real-life problem – as a registered pharmacist, I am driven to develop new and improved medicines for patients.

“By undertaking PhD research at UniSA, I now have a job where I can help people from behind the scenes by contributing to the science that drives improved medical treatments, and that is just as, if not more, rewarding to me (than working in the clinic).”

Dening’s work has led her to her first postdoctoral position at the University of Kansas where she continues her research.

Research fellow Dr Brenton Hordacre, who received the Early Career Research award along with Dr Stephanie Reuter Lange, says the collaborative nature of UniSA research has allowed for continued success in his research into stroke recovery.

“Getting to work with chronic stroke patients on a home treatment program that helps people recover greater use of their limbs is extraordinarily rewarding in itself but it’s always encouraging to have your research recognised more broadly, particularly by your peers,” Dr Hordacre says.

“For research to be effective, it almost always needs to be done in collaboration, so I’m grateful to the many people who’ve helped and supported me along the way.”

Dr Hordacre is trialling two-week at-home treatment for stroke patients with impaired motor function. The program involves the patient or their carer attaching brain stimulation electrodes to the motor cortex region of the head for 20 minutes each day, followed by a series of physical exercises, lasting an hour in total.

“The results are looking really promising at this stage,” Dr Hordacre says.

Following the success of the first Research Day and awards, a second event is scheduled for 2019 with plans to establish them on an ongoing basis.

The 2018 UniSA Research Award winners


Early Career Researcher Award
Brenton Hordacre - School of Health Sciences
Stephanie Reuter Lange - School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences

Mid Career Researcher Award
Krasimir Vasilev - School of Engineering

Leadership in Research Award
Emily Hilder - Future Industries Institute


Professional Support - Team Award
Australian National Fabrication Facility - SA Team
Simon Doe, Donghoon Chang, Jing-Hong (Mike) Pai, Mark Cherrill, Moein Kashani, Maryam Khaksar, Belinda Turner, Ragesh Nair

Professional Support - Individual Award
Julie White - School of Creative Industries
Kirsty Willis - School of Marketing

Supervisor of the Year Award
Jillian Dorrian - School of Psychology, Social Work & Social Policy

Transformed PhD Student of the Year Award
Tahnee Dening - School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences

Ian Davey Research Thesis Prize Award
Jessica Wojciechowski - School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences


Interdisciplinary Award
Smart Control to Maximise Renewable Energy With Thermal Energy Storage
Alemu Alemu, Martin Belusko, Luigi Cirocco, Ming Liu, Peter Pudney, Frank Bruno, John Boland

Best RTIS Application Award
Re-sensitising Resistant Bacteria Against Antibiotics: Giving New Power to Failing Medicines
Clive Prestidge, Nicky Thomas, Allison Cowin, Zlatko Kopecki, David Ogunniyi

Partnership Award
Australian Centre for Child Protection - Fiona Arney and Leah Bromfield

Commercialisation Award
Stuart Pitson - Centre for Cancer Biology

Policy Impact Award
Australian Centre for Child Protection - Fiona Arney and Leah Bromfield


People's Choice Award
Moein Kashani - School of Engineering

The full list featuring the nominees is available on the UniSA website.