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Woodside’s new energy science and technology manager Amanda Panting presented the award to Darlington’s Dr Chris Brennan-Jones.

Brennan-Jones best in west

By Claire Ottaviano

DARLINGTON paediatric audiologist Dr Chris Brennan-Jones is taking research into ear health from strength to strength and was recognised for his efforts with a Premier’s Science Award last week.

The father-of-two was announced as the winner of the Woodside Early Career Scientist of the Year category for his advancements in the field of ear health, most recognisably for his success reducing specialist waiting time for children from two years down to about ten days.

Dr Brennan-Jones was humbled by the award and credited the achievement to a team of scientists, clinicians, the Aboriginal Reference Group and the community.

“It’s great recognition for our whole team, I know I got the award, but there’s a lot of people in our team who work really hard,” he said.

“We have amazing partnerships with the Aboriginal Reference Group who were really pleased as well because it is a reflection of the work we’re all doing together.

“Being a clinician scientist getting a science award is a great thing too because you have that pathway to translate what you’re discovering into real world impacts which is a huge part of what I do so it was nice to have that recognised.”

As head of Ear Health at the Telethon Kids Institute and project leader of the Ear Portal program, Dr Brennan-Jones uses cutting-edge technology to change clinical practice and treatment of chronic middle ear disease/otitis media (OM).

OM affects 650,000 Australian children each year and can cause permanent hearing loss, which is entirely preventable when treated early.

The University of Western Australia clinical senior lecturer  is also no stranger to the annual awards, winning the WA Premier’s Student Scientist of the Year award in 2016.

The Early Career category carries with it a $10,000 prize and, perhaps more valuable, public awareness of the field’s importance.

“For both the finalists and winners, it highlights how you’re excelling in your field and the strengths of your team,” he said.

“I’m hoping it will help us attract more research funding and great future scientists to join the team and be a part of it.

“The other scientists in my category and all categories are all doing amazing work.

“It’s amazing just to be a finalist, to win it I was a bit blown away to be honest.”

Science Minister Dave Kelly said COVID-19 had put STEM breakthroughs in the spotlight with the award winners representing the very best scientists in the State.

“I would like to congratulate all eight winners in this year’s awards, not only for their commitment to the understanding of the world we live in but also for being role models to future scientists across our State,” he said.

“The WA science community is world leading, and the breakthroughs of these award-winning scientists not only help raise the profile of their universities and Western Australia, they help build a brighter future for us all.”

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Echo News gives readers an alternative to other media outlets in WA and enjoys a very high rate of readership in its distribution area. Our Echo News team are a small group of devoted individuals who work hard to give the local community an easy to read, yet intelligent mix of local community stories.

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