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Government of South Australia - Department of State Development


    Celebrating South Australia’s best scientific minds

    A cohort of the state’s most impressive STEMM professionals was recognised at the 2022 SA Science Excellence and Innovation Awards, held at the Adelaide Studios (SA Film Corporation), Glenside.

    Almost 400 guests were in attendance to support finalists and hear the 2022 winners announced—

    • Scientist of the Year: Professor Maria Makrides, SAHMRI
    • Innovator of the Year: Professor Andre Luiten, Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing, The University of Adelaide
    • PhD Research Excellence Award: Dr Chelsea Thorn, University of South Australia
    • STEMM Educator of the Year – Primary/Secondary: SPARK Team, Trinity College
    • STEMM Educator of the Year - University/RTO: Dr Richard Lilly, The University of Adelaide
    • Excellence in Science and Industry Collaboration: Driving Australia’s Blue Bioeconomy, Centre for Marine Bioproducts Development, Flinders University

    Scientist of the Year Professor Maria Makrides says her team works to improve the outcomes for pregnant women and young children using nutritional interventions.

    “I had done a science degree, and was looking for something more applied. I looked at nutrition and dietetics thinking that that was a way to combine good physiological and biochemical science with real-life application,” Professor Makrides said.

    “My interest in infancy care was the focus on nutrition for optimal growth and development – not just maintenance. A baby will double its weight in the first four months of its life. In adult terms, it's a little bit more straightforward. We don't double our weight in four months, and if we did, we'd be in a lot of trouble!

    “Most mothers are probably not deficient in nutrients because we have a great food supply in Australia. Often our issue is more about oversupply of nutrients, or nutrients being out of balance.

    “What I'd love to see is for people to be more focused on quality, the balance of nutrition, and moving away from particular fad diets that tend to cut out specific nutrient groups—that can sometimes have unintended consequences.”

    To learn more about the outstanding work of each winner, visit

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