UNSW solar energy innovator, Scientia Professor Stuart Wenham, has won one of the most prestigious Australian research accolades - an Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering Clunies Ross Award - for his enormous contributions to solar cell development and commercialisation.
Since beginning his work on solar cells in the 1980s Professor Wenham has invented or co-invented numerous breakthrough technologies which have delivered major advances in energy conversion efficiency.
The ARC Photovoltaics Centre of Excellence at UNSW, of which Professor Wenham is Director, holds the world record for solar cell efficiency and has licensed its technology worldwide, with global sales exceeding $1 billion.
Presenting the Clunies Ross Awards in Brisbane on May 14, awards committee chairman Bruce Kean paid tribute to the dedication of Professor Wenham and the other three award winners for 2008.
Professor Wenham was recognised as "one of Australia's outstanding academics, in terms both of his success in winning research funds and in the commercial impact of his work".
"The ATSE Clunies Ross Awards are awarded to people who have persisted with their ideas, often against the odds, to the point that their innovations are making a real difference economically, environmentally, and socially," Mr Kean said.
"Like Sir Ian Clunies Ross, in whose honour the awards are named, this year's winners are visionary. They each have the rare talent that has made them Australia's top commercially successful scientists and innovators by being able to marry technological and business expertise to create true success."
The other Clunies Ross winners for 2008 were: Professor Iven Mareels, Professor of Electrical and Electronic Engineering of the University of Melbourne; Dr David Noon of rock face safety monitoring technology company Groundprobe; and Professor Colin Sullivan, Professor in Medicine at the University of Sydney.