Awards

The Genetics Society of AustralAsia Inc. (GSA) makes annual awards for achievements in research and teaching in the field of genetics. All awards are presented at the annual GSA conference.

Applications are now open for the following awards for 2020
The closing date for applications has now been extended to 26th June 2020

The Genetics Society of AustralAsia MJD White Medal (awarded for excellence in genetics research)

The Genetics Society of AustralAsia Ross Crozier Medal (awarded to a mid-career researcher)

The Genetics Society of AustralAsia Alan Wilton Award (awarded to an early career researcher)

The D.G Catcheside Prize (awarded to the top doctoral student in the field of genetics)

The Genetics Society of AustralAsia Award for Excellence in Education

The Spencer Smith-White Travel Award (awarded to postgraduate members of GSA to attend the annual meeting)


Applications for the following awards are not yet open for 2020 – watch this space for more information:

2020 Genetics Society of AustralAsia Student Conference Awards (awarded to upper year undergraduate and Honours students to attend the GSA Conference)


The following prizes will be awarded at our next annual conference (no applications are required as all eligible student presenters are considered):

The Mayo Prize for the best student presentation at the annual conference

The Sidney James Prize for the best student poster at the annual conference


Applications for our 2019 Student Grants Program have now closed

More information about the 2019 Student Grants here


The Committee reserves the right not to offer any specific award in a given year

​​MJD White Medal

The MJD White Medal was established in 2009 by the Genetics Society of AustralAsia to recognise outstanding contributions to the field of genetics research by Australasian scientists. The medal commemorates Michael White who proposed the formation of the Genetics Society of Australia in 1953. This award is intended to recognise excellence in genetic research and may be awarded for a lifetime’s contribution to genetic research or for work by a mid-career scientist either leading to a paradigm shift in genetics or for a large body of work that is recognised as of major significance in a specific field of genetics.

The medal is awarded to one scientist at the Genetics Society of AustralAsia’s annual meeting. It is accepted by delivering the MJD White Lecture at the meeting.

The award consists of:

  • the MJD White Medal
  • the opportunity to present the MJD White lecture at the conference
  • registration fees to attend the conference, including a dinner ticket
  • where international travel from the normal place of work is required to attend the meeting, the Society may contribute to travel costs

Nominations for the MJD White Medal should come from a member of GSA. Nominations should include:

  • the MJD White Medal application cover sheet – download the coversheet here
  • a letter of support from the nominator
  • the nominee’s CV
  • a one-page summary of the nominee’s most significant contributions to genetics

Nominations must be submitted by email by the closing date to Dr Anna MacDonald (Secretary, GSA) at GSAA.Awards@gmail.com with “MJD White Medal” in the subject line. Late applications will not be accepted.

Applications for the 2020 award are now open and will close at 5pm AEST on 26th June 2020.

Previous recipients of the MJD White Medal:

2019 Ary Hoffmann
2018 Neil Gemmell
2017 Richard Frankham
2016 Elizabeth Dennis
2015 Phil Batterham
2014 John Bowman
2013 Not awarded
2012 Des Cooper
2011 David Smythe
2010 Michael J. Hynes
2009 Jenny A. M. Graves


​​Ross Crozier Medal

The Ross Crozier Medal was established by the Genetics Society of AustralAsia to recognise outstanding contributions to the field of genetics research by mid-career Australasian scientists. The medal commemorates Ross Crozier, an evolutionary geneticist who was a past President and an avid lobbyist for the Society. The award is intended to assist the recipient in advancement of their career and will be awarded for work completed within the period five to 15 years from graduating with a PhD. Career interruptions will be taken into account in exercising the 15 year limit.

The award is normally made to one scientist at the Genetics Society of AustralAsia’s annual meeting and is accepted by delivering the Ross Crozier Lecture at the meeting.

The award consists of:

  • the Ross Crozier Medal
  • the opportunity to present the Ross Crozier lecture at the conference
  • registration fees to attend the conference, including a dinner ticket

Self-nominations and nominations on behalf of others are both permitted and will be considered equally.

Applications should include:

  • the Ross Crozier Medal application cover sheet – download the coversheet here
  • the applicant’s CV
  • a one page summary of the applicant’s most significant contributions to genetics

Applications must be submitted by email by the closing date to Dr Anna MacDonald (Secretary, GSA) at GSAA.Awards@gmail.com with “Ross Crozier Medal” in the subject line. Late applications will not be accepted.

Applications for the 2020 award are now open and will close at 5pm AEST on 26th June 2020.

Previous recipients of the Ross Crozier Medal:

2019 Christen Mirth
2018 Simon Ho
2017 Peter Fineran
2016 Aleksandra Filipovska
2015 Melanie Bahlo
2014 Peter Dearden
2013 Katherine Belov
2012 Elizabeth McGraw
2011 Coral Warr


Alan Wilton Award​​

The Alan Wilton award was established by the Genetics Society of AustralAsia in honour of the late Associate Professor Alan Wilton, to recognise outstanding contributions to the field of genetics research by Australasian scientists early in their career. The award is intended to assist the recipient in advancement of their career and will be awarded for work completed within five years of graduating as a PhD. Career interruptions will be taken into account in exercising this five year limit.

The award is normally made to one scientist at the Genetics Society of AustralAsia’s annual meeting and is accepted by delivering a lecture at the meeting.

The award consists of:

  • a certificate
  • the opportunity to present an invited talk at the conference
  • registration fees to attend the conference, including a dinner ticket

Self-nominations and nominations on behalf of others are both permitted and will be considered equally.

Applications should include:

  • the Alan Wilton Award application cover sheet – download the coversheet here
  • the applicant’s CV
  • a one page summary of the applicant’s most significant contributions to genetics

Applications must be submitted by email by the closing date to Dr Anna MacDonald (Secretary, GSA) at GSAA.Awards@gmail.com with “Wilton Award” in the subject line. Late applications will not be accepted.

Applications for the 2020 award are now open and will close at 5pm AEST on 26th June 2020.

Previous recipients of the Alan Wilton Award:

2019 David Duchêne
2018 Emily Wong
2017 Jemma Geoghegan
2016 Sambasivam Periyannan
2015 Catherine Grueber
2014 Katie Ayers
2013 Not awarded
2012 Ryan Garrick
2011 Simon Ho


​​D.G. Catcheside Prize

The D. G. Catcheside Prize has been established to honour the memory of the late Professor David Guthrie Catcheside (1907-1994) by recognising the achievements of the top Australasian doctoral student in the field of genetics.

Professor Catcheside was an eminent geneticist who carried out research on mutation, cytogenetics, biochemical genetics and the genetics of recombination in plants and fungi. He was recruited from Cambridge University to spearhead a strategic plan to introduce fundamental genetics research into Australia. He established Australia’s first Department of Genetics at the University of Adelaide in 1952. Professor Catcheside proposed that the Research School of Biological Sciences (RSBS) be established at the Australian National University and served as its first Director. Professor Catcheside was a founding member of the Australian Academy of Science and was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society (London). Professor Catcheside was renowned as an outstanding mentor of postgraduate students. Many of his former students now hold positions of leadership in the Australian and international genetics research communities. This prize is a most fitting way to mark this legacy and to encourage excellence in postgraduate scholarship.

The prize is made available by a generous bequest to the Genetics Society of AustralAsia from Professor Catcheside’s family. A detailed description of the scientific contributions of Professor Catcheside can be found at the Australian Academy of Science website.

The D. G. Catcheside prize will be awarded to one individual on an annual basis. The prize will be open to entrants whose doctoral thesis has passed examination in the calendar year prior to the award (i.e. applicants should have passed examination in 2019 to be eligible for the 2020 award). A panel of three adjudicators will be responsible for selecting the winner. The rules of the award are as follows:

  1. The prize will be awarded for research that has led to the award of a doctoral degree by an Australasian university.
  2. The doctoral research must be substantially in the field of genetics. The adjudication panel retains the right to determine whether a particular thesis is in the field of genetics. For the purposes of this prize ‘genetics’ is defined as ‘a discipline that uses inherited variation, either natural or induced, to solve biological problems.’
  3. In reaching their decision the adjudicators will consider a supervisor’s citation pertaining to the significance of the research (maximum length of two pages), and the thesis Examiners’ Reports. In exceptional cases where two applications are considered equal on the basis of the first two criteria, the thesis itself will be considered.
  4. Membership of the Genetics Society of AustralAsia is not required and will not be one of the criteria considered by the adjudicators in selecting a prize winner. However, the prize winner will be offered the opportunity to present their doctoral research at the Genetics Society of AustralAsia Conference following the award.

The award consists of:

  • a certificate
  • the opportunity to present an invited talk at the conference
  • a prize valued at AU$1000
  • registration fees to attend the conference, including a dinner ticket
  • one year’s membership of GSA

Self-nominations and nominations on behalf of others are both permitted and will be considered equally.

Applications should include:

  • the D.G. Catcheside Prize application cover sheet – download the coversheet here
  • a citation outlining the significance of the research (maximum two pages) from the applicant’s PhD supervisor (in cases of joint supervision, only one citation should be submitted).
  • evidence that the thesis was passed by an Australasian university in the calendar year 2019
  • copies of the thesis examiners’ reports

Applications must be submitted by email by the closing date to Dr Anna MacDonald (Secretary, GSA) at GSAA.Awards@gmail.com with “Catcheside Prize” in the subject line. Late applications will not be accepted.

Applications for the 2020 award are now open and will close at 5pm AEST on 26th June 2020.

Previous recipients of the D.G. Catcheside Prize:

2019 Jakob Butler
2018 Ira Deveson
2017 Katherine Harrisson
2016 Sebastián Duchêne
2015 Michaela Blyton
2014 Dong Wang
2013 Kynan Lawlor
2012 Camilla Whittington
2011 Catherine Grueber
2010 Anna Sheppard
2009 Timothy Hore
2008 Ryan Garrick
2007 Mark de Bruyn
2006 Marnie Blewitt
2005 Peter Papathanasiou
2004 W. Greg Somers


Genetics Society of AustralAsia Award for Excellence in Education

The Genetics Society of AustralAsia Award for Excellence in Education has been established by the Genetics Society of AustralAsia to recognise an individual who has made outstanding contributions to genetics education in AustralAsia. Candidates must be at least five years post the awarding of their PhD.

The award is normally made to one educator at the Genetics Society of AustralAsia’s annual meeting and is accepted by delivering a lecture at the meeting.

Recipients will have promoted greater exposure to and deeper understanding of genetics through their achievements that address one or more of the following selection criteria:

  • approaches to teaching that influence, motivate and inspire students to learn
  • development of new courses or curricula that reflect a command of the field
  • national leadership in education
  • public engagement and outreach

The award consists of:

  • a certificate
  • the opportunity to present an invited talk at the conference
  • registration fees to attend the conference, including a dinner ticket

Self-nominations and nominations on behalf of others are both permitted and will be considered equally.

Applications should include:

  • the Education Award application cover sheet – download the coversheet here
  • the applicant’s CV
  • a two page summary addressing one or more of the selection criteria
  • a written reference from either the applicant’s Head of School or a senior genetics educator

Applications must be submitted by email by the closing date to Dr Anna MacDonald (Secretary, GSA) at GSAA.Awards@gmail.com with “GSA Education Award” in the subject line. Late applications will not be accepted.

Applications for the 2020 award are now open and will close at 5pm AEST on 26th June 2020.

Previous recipients of the GSA Award for Excellence in Education winners:

2019 Not awarded
2018 Jenny Donald
2017 Jaime Gongora
2016 Dawn Gleeson


Spencer Smith-White Travel Award

The Spencer Smith-White Travel Prize is granted annually to assist PhD students who are members of GSA to attend the annual conference. The GSA committee may elect to offer more than one award in a given year.

Spencer ‘Spinny’ Smith-White was a founding member of the Genetics Society of AustralAsia. Spinny was a Professor of Genetics at School of Biological Sciences at Sydney University. His work was in the field of cytogenetics. Spinny was a strong supporter of the Society and student participation in it.

The rules of the award are as follows:

  1. The Prize is awarded annually
  2. The GSA Committee will serve as the adjudication panel that awards the prize
  3. The applicant must be a current financial member of GSA when the application is lodged
  4. The applicant must be a currently enrolled PhD candidate at the time of the GSA conference for which the application is lodged
  5. Applicants must present their work at the GSA conference in the year that they apply. Both oral and poster presentations are acceptable. The presentation must substantially consist of the student’s own work and the contribution of others must be clearly acknowledged.

The award consists of:

  • a certificate
  • the opportunity to present a talk or poster at the conference
  • registration fees to attend the conference, including a dinner ticket

Self-nominations and nominations on behalf of others are both permitted and will be considered equally.

Applications should include:

  • the Smith-White Travel Award application cover sheet – download the coversheet here
  • the applicant’s CV (no more than 2 pages)
  • a copy of the submitted abstract for the GSA Conference
  • a one page summary of the applicant’s PhD research
  • a written reference from one referee, preferably the applicant’s PhD supervisor or an academic familiar with the PhD project, to be emailed directly to Dr MacDonald – this must be received by the award closing date

Applications must be submitted by email by the closing date to Dr Anna MacDonald (Secretary, GSA) at GSAA.Awards@gmail.com by the closing date with “Smith-White Travel Award” in the subject line. Late applications will not be accepted.

Applications for the 2020 award are now open and will close at 5pm AEST on 26th June 2020.

Previous recipients of the Smith-White Travel Award:

2019 Sonu Yadav
2018 Joshua Li and Dan Selechnik
2017 Isobel Ronai
2016 Joshua Penalba and Isobel Ronai
2015 Florencia Camus
2014 Chelsie Rohrscheib
2013 Not awarded
2012 Jennifer Morrow
2011 Shannon Smith
2010 Kerensa McElroy
2009 Angelique Riepsamen
2008 Anna Sheppard
2007 Timothy Hore
2005 Melinda Pickup
2004 Julia Jones


The Mayo Prize for best student presentation

The prize is named for George and Jean Mayo, prominent Australian geneticists who were founding members of the first genetics department in Australia, at the University of Adelaide. Jean Mayo was also President of the Genetics Society of Australia from 1979-80.

The Mayo Prize is awarded annually for the best student talk at each year’s GSA conference.

The rules of the award are as follows:
1. The Prize is open to all students making an oral presentation at the annual conference
2. A judging panel nominated by each year’s GSA conference committee will award the prize
3. An application is not required: all eligible students who present a talk at the conference will be considered for this award.

The award consists of:

  • a certificate
  • free registration to the next year’s annual GSA meeting

Previous recipients of the Mayo Prize:

2019 Elspeth McLennan and Jack Scanlan
2018 Olga Zaytseva
2017 Catriona Campbell
2016 Nicky Rollings
2015 Nicky Rollings
2014 Isobel Ronai
2013 Ryan Catchpole
2012 Yee Lian Chew
2010 Shannon Smith
2009 Andrew Lloyd
2008 Camilla Whittington


The Sidney James Prize for best student poster

The prize is named for Sidney James, who was for many years the sole geneticist at UWA, working on plant population cytogenetics in the Botany School. Sid passed away in 1998. Several articles appeared later that summarise his important contributions to Australasian genetics (James 2000 Aust J Bot 48, 341-347;
Bussell et al., 2002 Evolution 56, 1296-1302).

The Sidney James Prize is awarded annually for the best student poster at each year’s GSA conference.

The rules of the award are as follows:
1. The Prize is open to all students making a poster presentation at the annual conference
2. A judging panel nominated by each year’s GSA conference committee will award the prize
3. An application is not required: all eligible students who present a poster at the conference will be considered for this award.

The award consists of:

  • a certificate
  • free registration to the next year’s annual GSA meeting

Previous recipients of the James Prize:

2019 Laura Cook
2018 Jason Ji
2017 Sarada Ketharnathan
2016 Sally Mortlock


​​GSA Student Conference Awards

Applications for GSA Student Conference Awards are invited from science students completing their third year of undergraduate study, Honours, or equivalent Masters, at a tertiary institution. Applicants must be currently enrolled in an eligible degree and have completed at least one undergraduate course in Genetics.

These awards provide the opportunity for students to attend the annual GSA Conference. Further details about the 2020 conference, including program and invited speakers, can be found on the conference website.

Please note that PhD students are not eligible for these awards.

The award consists of:

  • The full cost of student registration (including social events)
  • One ticket to the conference dinner

Students will need to make their own arrangements for travel and accommodation.

Applications should include:

  • the Student Conference Award application cover sheet
  • a copy of the applicant’s academic record (it does not need to be certified)
  • a one-page outline of the applicant’s interests in the field of genetics
  • in addition, applicants should arrange an email of support from an academic referee from their institution who is a member of GSA. The letter or email of support should be sent by the referee directly to Dr MacDonald, and must be received by the closing date.

Students should submit their application by the closing date to Dr Anna MacDonald (Secretary, GSA) at GSAA.Awards@gmail.com with “GSA Student Conference Award” in the title. Late applications will not be accepted.

Applications for the GSA Student Conference Awards are not yet open.