2017 Peter Nicol Russell Memorial Medal Recipient
Professor Mary O’Kane AC HonFIEAust CPEng
Professor Mary O’Kane is the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer and also a company director and Executive Chairman of O’Kane Associates, a Sydney-based consulting practice specialising in major reviews.
Her research was in the field of continuous speech recognition and she is a leading figure in Australian Artificial Intelligence, ICT and Engineering more generally. Her work has been recognised by various awards including the ATERB Medal in 1990, the Centenary Medal in 2001, the Pearcey Medal for Lifetime Achievement in ICT in 2014, the inaugural Ada Lovelace Medal for an Outstanding Woman Engineer in 2016 and the Erna Hamburger Prize in 2017.
Professor O’Kane was Australia’s first female Engineering Dean, appointed in 1988 at the University of Canberra. She was Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) (1994-6) and then Vice-Chancellor of the University of Adelaide (1996-2001). In this period she was also the inaugural Chair of the Group of Eight. She is a former Chair of the board of the Australian Centre for Renewable Energy and the Board of the Development Gateway, a former member of the Commonwealth’s Review of the National Innovation System, Australian Research Council and the Co-operative Research Centres (CRC) Committee, the board of FH Faulding & Co Ltd and the board of CSIRO. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and an Honorary Fellow of Engineers Australia.
As NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer she provides the Government with advice on policy matters requiring research, science and engineering input. In September 2014, after extensive investigation and with intense public interest, she published her final report for the Independent Review of Coal Seam Gas Activities in New South Wales, an influential baseline for future government policy decision-making involving engineering and science.
In 2016 Professor O’Kane was made a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) for ‘eminent service to science and engineering, as a contributor to national policy development and governance, to the promotion of technology research and future energy supply, to higher education, and as a role model for young scientists’.
About the medal
The Peter Nicol Russell Memorial Medal - Career Achievement Award in Engineering is the most prestigious award conferred by Engineers Australia. It is presented annually to an Honorary Fellow of Engineers Australia who has made a notable contribution to the science and/or practice of engineering in Australia.
The award perpetuates the memory of Sir Peter Nicol Russell, a Sydney industrialist during the latter half of the 19th century, who made major donations to the cause of engineering in Australia.
Recipients of the PNR Memorial Medal represent to both the engineering profession and the community the highest technical, professional and community service standards of the profession of engineering.
In light of this, the term 'notable contribution' to the science and/or practice of engineering needs to be interpreted broadly, rather than as a narrow reflection of achievements only. This ensures the award truly reflects the broad nature and impacts of the profession of engineering within the general community.
Nomination criteria for the Peter Nicol Russell Memorial Medal
Only Honorary Fellows of Engineers Australia are eligible to be nominated. Incoming, current and immediate past national or divisional office-bearers do not automatically join the PNR register.
An Honorary Fellow is not eligible to be entered into the PNR Register in the year they are awarded Honorary Fellow.
Nominations for the PNR Medal must also contain a supplementary 200 word citation on the nominee and their career achievements.
The criteria for this award:
- Contribution to community welfare
- Contribution to the profession
- Technical and/or business expertise
As further expressed by contribution to:
- the community's welfare through engineering works
- the knowledge-base of the profession through research and development activities
- education through teaching and/or education support
- the community outside of engineering practice
- the profession through professional society activities
- the profession through leadership and management
NOTE: Nominees do not need to meet every area of the above criteria, however these are provided as a guide for nominators, who will be asked to address the sub-set areas where relevant to the nominee and their career.
Citation requirements for the Peter Nicol Russell Memorial Medal nominations
In addition to addressing the criteria, nominators for this award will be asked to write a 200 word citation on the nominee they propose for consideration for the PNR Medal.
The additional citation must demonstrate the nominee’s distinction and pre-eminence in the field, capture their entire body of work within the profession, as well outline notable/long term achievements.
In the 200 word citation, nominators will be asked to demonstrate the nominee's:
- technical expertise extending to business, research and/or education
- strong leadership in the field
- world expertise
- entire body of work and the way in which it is a notable contribution that has impacted the profession/community.
Rules for applying for the Peter Nicol Russell Memorial Medal
- The PNR Memorial Medal will be awarded annually.
- Only Honorary Fellows of Engineers Australia will be eligible for nomination. Incoming, current and immediate past national or divisional office-bearers do not automatically join the Register.
- Any nomination for the PNR Memorial Medal must be accompanied by a statement (200 word citation) of the nominee's notable contributions and achievements.
- At 31 July of each year, the H&A Committee will consider new nominations, add those suitable to the Register and review the nominations already recorded on the Register, in order to recommend three names to the Board for consideration at the next scheduled Board meeting.
- Cognisant of any advice from the H&A Committee, the Board will select an annual PNR Medal recipient.
- Nominations for this award may be made by;
- Any three members of National Congress
- A National Congress Board
- A Division Committee, College Board or Society Board
- Any five Corporate Members of the Institution of Engineers Australia
- The National President
- The Chief Executive shall ensure that the Register of nominees for the award is maintained for a period of three years and kept confidential, accessed only by the National H&A Committee, Chief Executive and Secretary to the H&A Committee.
- At the conclusion of three years, names will be removed from the Register if not selected as the PNR Medal recipient.
- Contact details of the nominator will be kept on file for the three year period. Nominators will be notified of a nominee’s expiry from the Register and invited to renominate.
- No feedback will be given to nominators as to whether the nominee was added to the Register.
- The National President or representative will contact the Peter Nicol Russell Memorial Medal winner to advise of their selection and inform them that a formal invitation will be extended to receive the award. The presentation, by the National President, might be on the occasion of the Annual General Meeting of Engineers Australia, or on another occasion deemed suitable by the Honours and Awards Committee or the National President.
- The award consists of a framed certificate and medal prescribed by the Board.
|First Name||Surname||Year Awarded|
|Hon Sir Eric||Neal||2015|
|Dr Maxwell Gordon||Lay||2014|
|Mr John Michael||Grill||2012|
|Prof Andrew Richard||Downing||2011|
|Mr Allan William||Roberts||2010|
|Prof Michael Bruce||Dureau||2009|
|Mr Martin Hallowell||Thomas||2008|
|Mrs Else Egede||Shepherd||2007|
|Mr Wallace Macarthur||King||2001|
|Mr Donald George||Fry||1999|
|Dr Peter Owen||Miller||1997|
|Mr Andrew Bruce||Sinclair||1996|
|Mr William Harold||Clough||1993|
|Dr Michael Anthony||Sargent||1992|
|Prof Rolf G.H.||Prince||1991|
|Mr Donald James||Little||1990|
|Dr Charles Harold||Warman||1989|
|Em Prof Peter Thomas||Fink||1988|
|Prof John Douglas Correll||Crisp||1987|
|Em Prof Lance Aubrey||Endersbee||1986|
|Sir Alfred William||Tyree||1985|
|Mr Douglas Gordon||Price||1984|
|Prof Kenneth Henderson||Hunt||1983|
|Mr Donald Hector||Aitken||1982|
|Dr William Piper||Brown||1981|
|Mr Roger Neill||Morse||1980|
|Dr Don Watkyn||Woods||1979|
|Sir Charles Newton||Barton||1978|
|Dr David Milton||Myers||1977|
|Prof Jack William||Roderick||1975|
|Sir John Clifton Vaughan||Holland||1974|
|Mr Bernard James||Callinan||1972|
|Mr Raymond Arthur||Priddle||1971|
|Prof Wilbur Norman||Christiansen||1970|
|Mr Julian Randal||Dridan||1969|
|Sir Willis Henry||Connolly||1968|
|Sir Ian Munro||McLennan||1967|
|Mr Donald Victor||Darwin||1966|
|Mr Thomas Bruce||Nicol||1965|
|Sir Robert Rutherford||Blackwood||1964|
|Mr Allan Walton||Knight||1963|
|Capt George Ian||Hutcheson||1962|
|Sir James Arthur||Holt||1961|
|Sir Albert Edwin||Axon||1960|
|Mr William Rayner||Hebblewhite||1959|
|Sir Walter Eric||Bassett||1958|
|Sir Lewis Ronald||East||1957|
|Sir John Proctor||Tivey||1956|
|Sir Louis Francis||Loder||1954|
|Radm Alex Broughton||Doyle||1953|
|Sir Russell John||Dumas||1952|
|Mr John Gurner||Burnell||1951|
|Mr William Hogarth Robertson||Nimmo||1950|
|Dr Thomas Havnes||Upton||1949|
|Brig James Montagu Christian||Corlette||1947|
|Mr Walter Harold||Myers||1946|
|Mr Edgar Gower||Ritchie||1943|
|Sir John Robert||Kemp||1942|
|Mr Robert James||Boyd||1941|
|Mr Alexander James||Gibson||1940|
|Mr Herbert Reah||Harper||1938|
|Mr Dudley Francis John||Harricks||1937|
|Mr Hugh Rose Forbes||Mackay||1936|
|Mr John Henry Osborn||Eaton||1935|
|Mr Francis William||Clements||1934|
|Mr Maurice Edwin||Kernot||1933|
|Dr John Job Crew||Bradfield||1932|
|Prof Roger William Hercules||Hawken||1931|
|Mr Henry Harvey||Dare||1930|
|Sir Robert William||Chapman||1928|
|Sir George Alfred||Julius||1927|
|Mr Orlando William||Brain||1926|
|Mr Richard Ernest||Sexton||1925|
|Prof William Henry||Warren||1923|