Three academics from The University of Western Australia have been announced as finalists for prestigious 2022 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes.
Professor David Pannell and Associate Professor James Fogarty from UWA's School of Agriculture and Environment are among 45 finalists from across the country in the running for Australia’s leading science awards which recognise excellence in the fields of research and innovation, leadership, science engagement and school science.
Image: Professor David Pannell (left) and Associate Professor James Fogarty
Investment Framework for the Economics of Water Sensitive Cities (INFFEWS), a joint venture with Griffith University and an output of the Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities, has been named as a finalist for the NSW Environment and Heritage Eureka Prize for Applied Environmental Research.
“Expectations around water management have evolved over time, and today, the community expects that environmental, amenity, and liveability aspects are also considered as an important part of water management strategies,” Professor Pannell said.
“These can be overlooked when projects are evaluated for funding because financial impact is prioritised but the INFEWS projects changes this.
“Essentially, INFFEWS is a one-stop integrated decision support framework for investment in water sensitive cities projects and provides comprehensive social, environmental and financial evaluation for balanced decisions.”
Associate Professor Fogarty said the framework had been tested on a diverse range of water-sensitive projects across the country.
“These have included the rehabilitation of waterways, constructed wetlands, passive recreation areas and irrigation, green roofs, integrated water management plans, alternative water supply, water sensitive infill options and water-sensitive city planning options,” he said.
“Multi-disciplinary teams involving environmental scientists, architects, planners and engineers worked on each case study with users happy that the framework worked in providing a comprehensive economic assessment of water sensitive projects that capture social, environmental and financial benefits.”
And Professor Jane Heyworth from UWA's School of Population and Global Health, an environmental epidemiologist with over 30 years' experience in environmental health research, policy and practice, is a finalist for the 2022 Eureka Prize for Excellence in Interdisciplinary Scientific Research.
Image: Professor Jane Heyworth
Professor Heyworth was part of the The Extreme Heat and Health Adaptation Team led by Professor Peng Bi from the University of Adelaide who developed a heat-and-health warning system that utilises excess heat factor as a scale for public information.
Over the past century, extreme heat has killed more Australians than any other natural hazards combined. The research team's new system, 15 years in the making, was adopted as Australia's national emergency warning mechanism earlier this year and has already resulted in reduced heat-related morbidity and healthcare costs.
Winners of the Australian Museum Eureka Prizes will be announced at an award ceremony hosted at the Australian Museum in Sydney on August 31.