ANBUG awards

ANBUG will be recognising the achievements of our members annually in the following areas:

ANBUG Career Award – for sustained contribution throughout the recipient’s career to a scientific subfield, or subfields, using neutron scattering techniques – A$500.

ANBUG Neutron Award – for outstanding research in neutron science and leadership promoting the Australian neutron scattering community (>10 years post PhD) – A$250.

ANBUG Young Scientist Award – for outstanding research utilising neutron scattering by scientists within 10 years of PhD conferral when accounting for significant career breaks A$250.

ANBUG Technical Award – new in 2021 – for outstanding service contributing to technical aspects of neutron scattering by university / institute staff or a beamline scientist. It is likely, but not mandatory, that it will be awarded to those who are traditionally not eligible for the other ANBUG awards, from areas such as engineering, sample environment, workshops or instrument staff that have gone above and beyond to facilitate your beam time from a technical perspective – A$250.

ANBUG Outstanding PhD Prize – for a PhD thesis on research using neutron scattering techniques submitted to a university in Australia or New Zealand after 1st January the year prior to the award year (i.e., 1st January 2020 for the 2021 award) – A$250.

Nominations for the 2021 awards will close at 11.59pm on September 26th 2021, and the nomination form can be found here. For the PhD Prize a digital copy of the thesis & examiner comments should be provided in addition to the nomination form.

The Awardees for 2020 and previous years are listed below, congratulations to them all.

ANBUG Awardees 2021

Congratulations to the ANBUG awardees for 2021.

Career Award – A/Prof. Trevor Finlayson, University of Melbourne

For his contributions to new technology and instruments, mentoring. Worked in diffraction and spectroscopy, so across a wide range of instruments.

He works in condensed matter physics, shape memory alloys, Sm-Co-based magnets, superconductivity, ferroelectricity, piezoelectricity, stresses in engineering materials

Trevor commenced neutron scattering during his PhD when, with AINSE Technical Staff, he configured the 4H1 Powder Diffractometer at the HiFAR reactor, to detect the small cubic-to-tetragonal distortion V3Si. As a Monash University academic, he regularly employed neutron scattering in materials research both personally and through his student supervision. He was introduced to triple-axis spectrometry through a sabbatical appointment at Oak Ridge National Laboratories and subsequently supervised a series of PhD projects studying the lattice dynamics of alkali-metal thiocyanates, making use of the triple-axis spectrometer at HiFAR.

At the same time, neutron residual stress measurements were becoming fashionable at international facilities. It was clear to Trevor that the resolution of the “new”, high-resolution, powder diffractometer (HRPD) at HiFAR, could enable the measurement of residual strains (and hence stresses) in engineering materials. Subsequent projects by students under his supervision made use of the HRPD for the first neutron residual-stress measurements in Australia. A further project at HiFAR made use of the small-angle scattering instrument (AUSSANS). Then in the lead-up to the OPAL reactor, the old triple-axis instrument was converted into a two-axis diffractometer which students under Trevor’s supervision used for neutron strain-scanning and synchronous diffraction.

Trevor had a significant involvement in three Instrument Advisory Teams (IATs) for the instruments at the OPAL Reactor, being Chair of the TAIPAN IAT (2002-2007), and a member of the KOWARI (2003-2007) and PELICAN (2005-2012) IATs. Since the commissioning of OPAL, even after his retirement, he continues to perform experiments on WOMBAT, ECHIDNA, TAIPAN, KOWARI and SIKA.

Neutron Award – Prof. Elliot Gilbert, ANSTO

Instrument Scientist, QUOKKA (Small-Angle Neutron Scattering)

Lead, Food Materials Science

For developing the new research program Neutrons & Food. This is recognised in Australasia & worldwide. Also significant contributions through his leadership role in designing, construction and commissioning of Quokka & Outreach.

Trained and mentored numerous scientists, including Dr Anna Sokolova (Bilby, TOF-SANS instrument) and Dr Jitendra Mata (Kookaburra, USANS).

Elliot has also attracted over $11 m of research funding (incl. ARC Discovery, ARC LINKAGE, Industrial Transformation Training Centre) throughout his career.

Young Scientist – Dr. Leonie van’t Hag, Monash University

Dr van ‘t Hag developed a new neutron scattering method that enabled studying the location and conformation of membrane proteins in lipid self-assembly materials of mixed composition. Recently, this was used to optimize the encapsulation and delivery of antimicrobial and viral peptides.

Membrane proteins are important drug targets and their structure is important to enable rational drug design. Previously, all work was, by necessity, focused on the nanostructure of the lipid materials but it was not possible to isolate the protein behaviour. This was achieved using chemical deuteration of monoolein in collaboration with the National Deuteration Facility (NDF) and small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) at the Australian Centre for Neutron Scattering (ACNS). It was found that a fully deuterated lipid matrix can be contrast-matched in D2O, allowing for studying of the protein location and conformation within the material.

Technical Award (New) – Dr. Norman Booth, ANSTO

Since starting as a Sample Environment Officer at ACNS (formerly Bragg Institute) in 2011 Norman has had two main goals: develop outstanding equipment and providing outstanding support to the facility users. Both goals have been achieved with innumerable examples. The multipurpose chamber for gas and vapour measurements, the simultaneous optical and neutron measurements, like for example simultaneous SANS/DWS experiments devised with colleagues from Auckland University or the near infrared spectroscopy and powder diffraction for planetology research. Norman has produced countless solutions for complex experiments including application of electrical pulses within a magnetic field or using the rheometer on the neutron diffraction instrument, Wombat. One of the characteristics of Norman has been always the availability to provide the best advice. With a can-do attitude Norman supported and continues to support a large range of experiments in different fields with a particular focus on the soft matter instruments. For example, Norman pioneered the high sheer rate experiments devised in collaboration with colleagues at NIST and implemented on Quokka.

Within the ACNS Sample Environment team Norman provided constantly advice to peers and managers on the feasibility, safety and compatibility of materials. There is no piece of equipment available within Sample Environment that in one way or another haven’t been designed, discussed, modified by or with Norman.  The appreciation by the user community is shown by the number of publications and acknowledgements.

Outstanding PhD Award – Dr. Gemeng Liang, University of Wollongong

Gemeng obtained his PhD degree at the Institute for Superconducting and Electronic Materials (ISEM), University of Wollongong, in May 2021. During PhD study, he successfully developed a series of novel high-voltage spinel cathode materials for the next-generation high-energy-density LIBs, advancing the understanding of both performance and mechanistic behaviour of electrode materials with a clear picture. His PhD thesis combines the powerful neutron powder diffraction technique with other cutting edging characterization methods to establish comprehensive and systematic structure/chemistry/function relationships of spinel materials during battery functioning, and is granted with the award of the Examiners’ Commendation for Outstanding Thesis. Both two reviewers are deeply impressed by the broadness and depth of his PhD research and recommend special commendation.

Gemeng has also published 7 high-profile publications as first/co-first author during his PhD, including Advanced Materials (Impact factors (IF) = 30.84), Angewandte Chemie (VIP paper, IF = 15.33), Nano Energy (IF = 17.88), Journal of Materials Chemistry A (IF = 11.30), Batteries & Supercaps (IF = 7.09), Frontiers in Energy Research (IF = 4.00), with corresponding cumulative impact factors exceeding 110. Meanwhile, his excellence has also been evidenced by a series of awards and honours, which include Examiners’ Commendation for Outstanding Thesis in 2021, Research Highlight of AINSE 2020 Annual Report in 2020, Postgraduate Student Excellence Award, University of Wollongong in 2019 and Post Graduate Research Award (PGRA), AINSE in 2018

Past awards


Career Award for sustained contribution – John White

Neutron Award (>10 years post-PhD) – Anna Paradowska

Young Scientist Award (<10 years post-PhD) – David Cortie

Outstanding PhD Prize – Damien Goonetillecke


Career Award for sustained contribution – Stewart Campbell

Neutron Award (>10 years post-PhD) – Vanessa Peterson

Young Scientist Award (<10 years post-PhD) – Rico Tabor

Outstanding PhD Prize – Timothy Murdoch


Outstanding PhD Prize – Grace Causer


Career Award – Rob Robinson

Award for Outstanding Research – Chris Ling


Award for Outstanding Research – Ross Piltz


Award for Sustained Contribution – Ian Gentle


Award for Outstanding Research – Maxim Avdeev

Sustained Contribution – Chris Howard


Award for Outstanding Research – not awarded

Sustained Contribution – Margaret Elcombe


Award for Outstanding Research – Prof. Erich Kisi (Newcastle University)

Sustained Contribution – Prof. Brian O’Connor