PM's science award to Professor Ian Frazer

Professor Ian Frazer, co-creator of the cervical cancer vaccine, has won the 2008 Prime Minister¹s Prize for Science. Professor Frazer, recently appointed as the next Chairman of the Australian Cancer Research Foundation’s Medical Research Advisory Committee (MRAC) is a Director of the Diamantina Institute for Cancer, Immunology and Metabolic Medicine at the Unviersity of Queensland.

Professor Frazer was presented with his prize by Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, at a special ceremony in the Great Hall, Parliament House Canberra.

The Prime Minister’s Prize for Science is the nation’s pre-eminent award for excellence in science and acknowledges the contributions of Australian scientists to economic and social wellbeing in Australia and the world. Awarded for an outstanding specific achievement in any area of science advancing human welfare or benefiting society, it can encompass the physical, chemical, biological and technological sciences, mathematics and/or engineering.

The prize comprises a grant of $300,000. The winner also serves on the Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council for a year.

Professor Frazer, who with his late research partner Dr Jian Zhou, contributed to the development of a vaccine for cervical cancer, said he would donate his prize money to the University for a research program to develop further vaccines.

“I will use the opportunity granted by my selection to further the promotion of science as the best approach to solving the many challenges we face in society, in areas as diverse as health and the environment” said Professor Frazer.

Last month, Professor Frazer, 2006 Australian of the Year and inaugural winner of the Queensland Smart State Premier’s Fellowship in 2006, was announced as the winner of the Balzan Prize, a major international award recognising Professor Frazer’s lasting contribution to preventive medicine.

Since the vaccines global application in 2006, more than 40 million doses have been administered to women and girls in more than 90 countries.

Chief Executive of the Australian Cancer Research Foundation, David Brettell, said that the contribution Professor Frazer makes to overcoming cancer, both personally and professionally, is immense. “I can’t think of anyone who deserves this award more” he said. “Professor Frazer spearheaded the most significant global breakthrough in the fight to overcome cancer. In addition, his support for medical research continues to raise everyone’s awareness of just how critical it is to fund excellent Australian research so we will defeat cancer and other life-threatening diseases”.

For further information contact: Shirley Glaister at UQ Communications (07 3365 1931), Anton Sanker at UQ Diamantina (07 3240 5938 or 0412 057 512) or David Brettell at the Australian Cancer Research Foundation.