First Max Day fellowships awarded

Nick Leseberg in the field in Western QLD where he’s studying the elusive Night Parrot. Photo Credit: Nick Leseberg
Marta Yebra characterising the spectral response of grasses during a fire experiment in Braidwood. Photo Credit: Carolina Luiz
Dr Max Day and Professor Brian Schmidt caught up after the awards.

As a part of the Awards ceremony at Science at the Shine Dome 2017, Mr Nicholas Leseberg from the University of Queensland and Dr Marta Yebra from the Australian National University were announced as the first two recipients of the Academy’s Max Day Environmental Science Fellowship Award.

PhD student Mr Leseberg will use his Max Day Award to investigate the ecology of the elusive and endangered Night Parrot, while Dr Yebra will study the moisture content of Australian forests to create models that predict bushfires.

In addition to the awardees, three researchers were highly commended: Dr Hugo Harrison from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University, Dr Kerensa McElroy from CSIRO, and Mr Max Worthington from Flinders University.

A highlight of the ceremony was the attendance of Dr Max Day, who at 101 is the longest serving Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and who has spent a lifetime championing entomology, conservation and forestry, and helping other scientists. Elected to the Academy in 1956—just two years after the Academy was founded—Dr Day still remembers the 1958 ceremony at which then Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies officially laid the foundation stone of what is now known as the Shine Dome.

Following the Award ceremony supporters and guests gathered for lunch and joined Dr Day and members of his family in celebrating the special occasion.

Dr Day and his family are generously funding this fellowship to support scientists early in their careers, acknowledging the support that Dr Day himself received as a young researcher to travel overseas to gain his PhD at Harvard.

More than 110 award applications were received by the Academy, reflecting the great need for support among young researchers. We sincerely thank Dr Day for his generosity and invite you to become a valued supporter to enable this award to continue to assist additional young researchers for decades. Your support will ensure that together, we can make a significant impact on future research for Australia.

The Academy extends a special thank you to Doug Hooley PSM for his generous support to the Max Day Environmental Science Fellowship Award. Mr Hooley has pledged his ongoing support over the coming years.

For more information on supporting young scientists, please contact our Development and Stewardship Manager, Ms Isobel Griffin at the Australian Academy of Science. Email tel 02 6201 9471 

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