Senior Biologist receives top ANU honours for 2019

Professor Barry Pogson. Photo by Lannon Harley, ANU.
26 November 2019

Esteemed senior ANU biologist and mentor, Professor Barry Pogson, has been awarded the highest accolade for staff, the 2019 Peter Baume Award.

Professor Pogson, who is the Head of Plant Sciences at the ANU Research School of Biology, received the honour at the Vice-Chancellor's Awards following a year of accolades including receiving the 2019 Eureka Prize for Outstanding Mentor of Young Researchers and an ARC Laureate Fellowship.

"It's a great honour to be recognised by this award and I feel humbled after seeing the list of prior recipients.

"ANU has been a fantastic home for the past 20 years - a great university with amazing students, talented professional staff and inspiring academics," he says.

Professor Pogson heads up his own lab group, the Pogson Group, which works directly with the ARC Centre for Excellence in Plant Energy Biology on seeking to develop better crop yields in good and bad seasons.

"The challenge has been to decipher communication networks within plant cells. Specifically, we have been seeking to discover how chloroplasts, the site of photosynthesis, provide status updates to the plant in response to drought."

Named after former ANU Chancellor Professor the Hon. Peter Baume AC, the Peter Baume Award recognises achievement and merit of the highest order for those who make contributions to the economic, cultural, scientific or social development of Australia or the international community.

Previous recipients include Emeritus Professor Frank Jackson AO and Professor Susanne von Caemmerer.

In receiving the 2019 award, Professor Pogson thanked his lab for contributing to his success.

"There have been many great mentors throughout my career who I also want to thank, but without the creative thinking and hard work of those in my lab over the past two decades I would have not had any success."

In thanking his mentors and supporters over the course of his career, Professor Pogson says it's also important to pay this mentoring spirit forward.

"Australia, indeed the world, faces an unprecedented set of challenges, many of which will impact food security," he says.

"Given the scale and breadth of challenges facing our rural communities, we need a nationwide, large scale mission to produce better crops and communities and a new generation of empowered leaders.

"So it is critical each of us actively mentors, equips and supports next generation leaders across all disciplines."