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Australian Institute of Marine Science Medal 2020 awarded

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11 November 2020

Passion and collegiate contribution to marine science underpin inaugural awarding of AIMS Medal

A passion for marine biology, recognition of the contribution of colleagues and enduring contribution to excellence has seen marine biologist, Dr Andrew Heyward, awarded the inaugural Australian Institute of Marine Science Medal.

Pioneering the establishment of AIMS in Western Australia almost two decades ago, Dr Heyward was presented with the medal by AIMS’ Research Program Leader in Perth, Dr Karen Miller.

The AIMS Medal will be awarded every two years in recognition of outstanding and enduring contribution to AIMS’s mission, commitment to sustained excellence, and exemplification of AIMS values.

AIMS CEO Dr Paul Hardisty, speaking via video link from Townsville, said Dr Heyward was selected by a panel of his science peers from a list of highly credentialled colleagues. The panel singled out his selflessness and considered leadership which made a real difference to AIMS and enhanced the value of the science that AIMS delivers to the nation. 

“Andrew is a visionary science leader. More than a decade ago his pioneering published work on reef restoration and larval survival set the stage for our current major effort on the Reef Restoration and Adaption Program.

“As AIMS’s work with industry grew, in no small way because of his efforts, Andrew led the enhancement of AIMS's safety performance and record into a new era of much stronger safety values and performance.

“He was responsible for building relationships that endure over decades, as well as leading the development of key partnerships with the oil and gas industry which led to dozens of projects and a huge science impact, and established AIMS in the west as a viable long-term operation.”

Dr Heyward described his work as a passion and a pleasure and paid tribute to his colleagues.

“The award reflects an ongoing contribution to our values and our mission and you cannot do that on your own. Every time the best achievements that I have been involved in have been dependent on everyone else at AIMS.

“The Australian Institute of Marine Science has a really worthy mission and has fantastic values, so what’s not to love,” he said.

Dr Hardisty said that Dr Heyward’s attitude, willingness to help, and positive outlook touched all who were lucky enough to work with him and that he could not think of a more deserving winner.

Dr Andrew Heyward was awarded the inaugural Australian Institute of Marine Science medal in November, 2020.

Dr Heyward completed his studies at James Cook University in Queensland, after which he held positions in Japan, Victoria and South Australia. He joined AIMS in 1994 as Scientist in Charge and established its first WA office in Dampier. Around 2001 both the AIMS office and Andrew relocated to Perth.

His current research is focused on exploratory surveys of coastal and offshore habitats in north-west Australia and studies of coral biology related to early life histories. The work is revealing the globally significant diversity of benthic marine habitats in the north-west and Timor Sea. Added to this is reef restoration research which is exploring new ways to assess coral recruitment and enhance post-settlement survival.

“Being custodians of our planet is more important than ever and marine sciences can make a good contribution to the care of the oceans and our future,” he said.