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2020 Annual Secretaries Dinner and Awards ceremony

11 November 2020
Secretaries Dinner - all scholars

The Sir Roland Wilson Foundation hosted its annual Secretaries Dinner at the National Museum of Australia on 10 November 2020.

Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Frances Adamson, spoke about the transformative power of education, on both an individual level, and society-wide.

“The effects are greater than the sum of their parts: a more prosperous, engaged, and tolerant society.”

Referencing the unique careers of Sir Roland Wilson and Pat Turner, she highlighted how important it is for the Australian Public Service to have the breadth and depth of knowledge and experience needed to solve Australia’s biggest challenges.

The Sir Roland Wilson Foundation offers postgraduate scholarships to high performing Australian public servants to study public policy issues of national and global significance.

The annual event recognises and celebrates the achievements of Sir Roland Wilson scholars, and the Foundation’s partnership with The Australian National University, Charles Darwin University and the Australian Public Service.

Foundation Chair, Dr Ken Henry, emphasised the crucial influence the scholars and alumni network have in further strengthening the use of evidence and research across the public service.

“The Foundation continues to expand its contribution to building a world class APS, and as we look at the challenges facing the nation, I am confident the Foundation is well positioned to help the APS tackle these challenges.”

The event was an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the scholar’s achievements over the past year, with prizes awarded to the Foundation’s preeminent scholars.

  • Cris Castro from the Department of Education, Skills and Employment won the Pat Turner Prize for the highest Weighted Average Mark of a coursework student. Cris is studying a Master of Leadership.
  • Lisa Conway from Services Australia won the Pat Turner Prize recognising the Master of Philosophy or PhD student who made the biggest contribution to academia or public policy. Lisa’s research is aiming to explore the cultural responsiveness of the public service.
  • Siddharth Shirodkar from the National Indigenous Australians Agency won the Joan Uhr prize for the scholar who has made the greatest contribution to public policy, particularly through strengthening the links between the Australian Public Service and ANU. Siddharth’s timely research on unconscious bias generated a national debate on the nature of racism, and highlighted the need for concerted focus on policy to address systematic impediments to enhancing Indigenous development.
  • Dr Nathan Deutscher from the Department of the Treasury won the Ian Castles Alumni prize, for the scholarship alum who has achieved extraordinary success in their field, or made outstanding contributions to public policy in Australia or internationally. Nathan’s research on intergenerational income mobility has had large policy impact and increased our knowledge of the Australian economy. His work received substantial media and academic attention and has already won a number of prizes.

Professor Bruce Chapman AM was also recognised for his service as a member of the Sir Roland Wilson Foundation Board.

ANU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Brian Schmidt, congratulated all the prize winners and encouraged them to continue this important work.

“You are each building impactful links between academic research and public policy development to address the nation’s greatest challenges.”

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The Sir Roland Wilson Foundation is a partnership between The Australian National University, Charles Darwin University and the Australian Public Service.