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Graeme Clark wins 2011 CSL Florey Medal


Bionic ear inventor Prof Graeme Clark today accepted the CSL Florey Medal and $50,000 prize for his pioneering work over decades that has transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people worldwide and looks like leading to even more innovation.

Accepting his prize from Professor Rick McLean, Chair of the Australian Institute of Policy and Science at Parliament House, Graeme spoke of his passion for returning to the lab and exploring the potential of technology to bridge the gap between electronics and the brain – bringing hi-fi quality and music, not just sound, to bionic ear recipients.

Preparing to receive his award today, he announced that he was joining NICTA, Australia’s national ICT Research Centre of Excellence to help bridge the gap between electronics and the brain.

“I see no reason that we can’t do this,” Graeme said just after receiving his award in answer to qustions from MC Bernie Hobbs in the company of top peers from across Australia’s medical research community.

The Hon Mark Butler MP, Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, guest speaker at the Florey Medal presentation on the occasion of the Australian Medical Research Institutes’ annual dinner, praised the spirit of perseverence, even stubborness, and sheer hard work that define excellence in medical research.

“Graeme Clark is a fitting winner,” said Dr Andrew Cuthbertson, CSL Research & Development Director and Chief Scientific Officer. “Professor Clark had a big idea and took it through a torturous scientific and regulatory path to create a device that has transformed the lives of people around the world. His ideas have seeded many other initiatives in bionics.”

“The importance of recognising our scientists and inspiring the next generation is just as important today as it was in 1998 when we established the Florey Medal and the Tall Poppy Campaign,” said Rick Mclean, Chair of AIPS.

“The CSL Florey Medal represents the pinnacle of Australian biomedical achievement and we congratulate Graeme Clark for his achievements and for continuing the tradition of Sir Howard Florey, discoverer of penicillin.”

AIPS thanks the independent judging panel chaired by Prof Michael Good and distinguished colleagues Prof Warwick Anderson, Prof John Hopwood, Prof Graham Mitchell, Prof Peter Schofield and Dr Fiona Wood. This year they had a record number of applications of the most outstanding quality.

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