Celebrating outstanding research

The 2023 Awards for Research Excellence

Researcher Dr Janet Schloss in the lab
Professor Mary Spongberg

Message from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Academic Capability)

Presenting our 2023 Research Excellence Award recipients.

The innovations of tomorrow begin in the research of today. This year's research award recipients give great hope for tomorrow and inspiration to their colleagues and their communities.

Whether on our precious reefs or in our rivers, in schools or on farms, in hospitals, in care or in laboratories, from our local communities to the world, this is research that is transforming tomorrow.

Professor Mary Spongberg

Awards for research excellence

It’s been an exciting year for research at the University. The work of our researchers has attracted extraordinary amounts of funding and interest from around the globe. Researchers have collaborated with dozens of industry and other university partners, driving projects that span hemp to healthcare and coral to classrooms. Presenting the 2023 Southern Cross University Research Award recipients:

Early career researchers

Simone Blom

Dr Simone Blom

Associate Lecturer

Faculty of Education

Georgina Dimopoulos

Dr Georgina Dimopoulos

Senior Lecturer

Faculty of Business, Law and Arts

Portrait of Dr Kelly Menzel

Dr Kelly Menzel

Senior Lecturer

Gnibi College of Indigenous Australian Peoples

Dr Dylan Poulus at Gold Coast campus

Dr Dylan Poulus


Faculty of Health

Mid-career researchers

Aspa Baroutsis

Dr Aspa Baroutis

Senior Lecturer

Faculty of Education

Dr David Newell

Dr David Newell

Senior Lecturer

Faculty of Science and Engineering

Joanne Oakes

A/Prof. Joanne Oakes

Associate Professor

Faculty of Science and Engineering

Head and shoulders of Senior Lecturer Gregory P Smith

Dr Gregory P Smith

Senior Lecturer

Faculty of Business, Law and Arts

Christian headshot

A/Prof. Christian Swann

Associate Professor

Faculty of Health

Senior researchers

Associate Professor Dirk Erler on RV Investigator vessel

Prof. Dirk Erler


Faculty of Science and Engineering

Professor Anne Graham 300px

Prof. Anne Graham


Centre for Children and Young People

Professor Andrew Rose researches connecting industrial waste to food security

Prof. Andrew Rose 


Faculty of Science and Engineering

Pascal Scherrer

Dr Pascal Scherrer 

Senior Lecturer

Faculty of Business, Law and Arts

Outstanding contribution to impact


Janet Schloss profile photo

Dr Janet Schloss

Senior Lecturer

National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine


Man laughing while tending bee hive

Dr Cooper Schouten


Faculty of Science and Engineering

Inspiring Researchers – Deans Nomination

Ali Reza Alei

Dr Ali Alaei

Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Science and Engineering

Reason for Nomination: Ali has made significant impact in the development of research in the area of Big data analysis, pattern recognition, image processing, human perception modelling and biometrics.

Dr Wendy Boyd

A/Prof. Wendy Boyd,

Associate Dean (Education), Faculty of Education

Reason for Nomination: Wendy is an exceptional early childhood educator and researcher. She was recently awarded an ARC Discovery focussed on attracting, preparing, and sustaining quality teachers in early education. A/Prof was also awarded further funding ($124K) with the Australian Childcare Alliance Queensland.

Head and shoulders of man in a shirt

Dr Vihn Bui

Lecturer, Faculty of Science and Engineering

Reason for Nomination: Vinh has made significant impact to IT research in the area of AI, securing over 9 million in research funding for important projects that will transform healthcare, education and people’s lives; including $950k to SCU as part of a multinational Welcome funded $8.5m project with UQ, Yale, Griffith, ANU, NIH & Uni Tsukaba to combat dengue through harnessing the power of AI and data analysis - ‘A user-friendly digital prediction tool for dengue prevention’.

Ya-Ling headshot

Dr Ya-Ling Huang

Lecturer, Faculty of Health

Reason for Nomination: Ya-Ling has worked hard since coming to SCU to develop and consolidate external partnerships to support the development of a programme of work and was a successful co-applicant for funding with partners from the health service and other Universities. She is emerging as a strong researcher of the future.

Associate Professor Renaud Joannes-Boyau

A/Prof. Renaud Joannes-Boyau

Associate Professor, Faculty of Science and Engineering

Reason for Nomination: Renaud has an exceptional list of recent research achievements, including research into the timing of human evolution, interaction of humans with the surrounding environment, as well as hominids diet and early life history. This includes publications in multidisciplinary journals including Nature, Science and Nature communications as well as being awarded three ARC DP’s with total funding in the last 4 years $2M. His work is internationally renowned and has wide impact.

Dr Erika Kerruish

Dr Erika Kerruish

Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Business, Law and Arts

Reason for Nomination: Erika has been nominated for being a well-balanced, emerging scholar - producing good Q1s, working in an important area (AI), while also achieving excellent teaching scores (i.e.100%). Two recent sole-authored Q1s (Culture, Theory and Critique, Pedagogy, Culture & Society) with another under review (Postdigital Science and Education). Also recently invited to present on “Critical thinking with Generative AI” at International Communications Association Conference June 2024.

Lady with blonde hair smiling

A/Prof. Lynne McPherson

Associate Professor, Faculty of Health

Reason for Nomination: Lynne has developed a strong programme of research been successful in securing major funding and has under the support of Professor Anne Graham is developing into one of our key research leaders within the faculty.

Professor Sue Walker

Prof. Sue Walker

Associate Dean (Research), Faculty of Education

Reason for Nomination: Sue is an outstanding research leader and researcher (in early childhood education and care). She was recently appointed to the ARC College of Experts, acknowledging her extraordinary contribution to education and its research.

Mark Wellard

A/Prof. Mark Wellard

Associate Professor, Faculty of Business, Law and Arts

Reason for Nomination: Mark has been nominated for his research impact in the legal domains of bankruptcy, insolvency, and directors’ duties (including Senate appearances). Described by one Gold Coast law firm as “…clearly the most practical academic working in the insolvency field”, Mark has undertaken deep analysis of three 150-page judgments of the High Court, the NSW Court of Appeal, and the NZ Supreme Court.

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