Phillip Law Post-Doctoral Award – Past Winners

This award is made possible from a generous bequest to the Society from the estate of the late Dr Phillip Garth Law AC. The award is for excellence in scientific research by an early career researcher within seven years of being conferred a doctorate by a Victorian research institution. From 2013 to 2020 this Award was made entirely within the Physical Sciences and, from 2021, is awarded across several categories of science – Physical Sciences, Biomedical & Health Sciences, Biological Sciences and Earth Sciences – cycling through each on a four year basis.

This page records past winners – for the current year’s details, please see

The Phillip Law Award was made for the first time in 2013 and the inaugural winner was Dr Marcus Kitchen for his significant contribution in the field of lung imaging, where for several years he has been investigating novel X-ray imaging techniques for studying lung development.

The winner of the 2014 Award (the inaugural Physical Sciences recipient) was Dr Madhu Bhaskaran for her microtechnology work, seeking to harness the mechanical energy from user interactions with electronics, generating electricity through pressure on crystals to effectively power devices with the user’s own interface activity.

The 2015 Award winner was Dr Marcus Doherty for his work in theoretical and collaborative research with the ANU’s Laser Physics Centre, investigating the properties of colour centres in semiconductors and their applications in quantum technologies, particularly quantum computing.

The winner of the 2016 Award was Dr Samintha Perera for her work in rock mechanics, coal mining and “slop stability,” COsequestration and unconventional oil and gas extractions.

The winner of the 2017 Award was Dr Kaye Morgan for her work in novel soft-tissue, multi-modal x-ray imaging techniques.

The joint winners of the 2018 Award were Dr Sumeet Walia, for his work in nanoelectronics and mimicking neural processes with semiconductors, microchips and miniaturised energy sources, and Dr Nishar Hameed, for his work in producing smart, flexible and rapid-cure composites for integration to formable, fibre-reinforced composites, concrete preforms and graphene nanocomposites.

The winner of the 2019 Award was Dr Rajesh Ramanathan for his interdisciplinary work interfacing nanotechnology and biology, including sensor processes and diagnostics, antimicrobial and wound management and imaging methods to create a remarkable diversity of new biomedical applications and products.

The winner of the 2020 Award was Dr Nisa Salim for her work developing porous carbon materials, enabling the remarkable invention of “structural batteries and supercapacitors” – lightweight, high-tensile structural components of vehicles and devices that also serve to store and route energy for use by these same devices.

The winner of the 2021 Award (the inaugural Biomedical & Health Sciences recipient) was Dr Christopher Draper-Joyce for his work in therapeutic drug discovery through solving the structures of G Protein-Coupled Receptor G protein complexes, a family of cell surface receptors, with new methodologies, leading to applications in human dopamine control, novel antiviral agents, and other domains where techniques in pharmacology and structural biology can combine to deliver exciting new outcomes.

The winner of the 2022 Award (the inaugural Earth Sciences recipient) was Dr Ashleigh Hood for her work in mapping ancient ediacaran marine reefs around the world to better understand how the interaction of early life forms on land and in the seas drove the oxygenation of Earth’s oceans and atmosphere, concluding that the second major spike in oxygen that delivered our modern ecosphere correlated with the evolution of trees and extensive root systems 380 million years ago, in the Devonian period of the Paleozoic era.