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UWA and Curtin University Congratulate their 2016 Forrest Scholars

8 March 2018

Two Curtin University students and one UWA PhD student have been awarded prestigious scholarships from the Forrest Research Foundation.

The Forrest Research Foundation Scholarship is provided to attract brilliant international and domestic students to undertake high-quality research and enrol in a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree at a Western Australian university.

Mr Frederik Seersholm, a University of Copenhagen alumnus, and Ms Kit Prendergast, who will be studying at Curtin, were congratulated at the 2016 Forrest Research Foundation Scholars cocktail reception last night, held at Curtin St Georges Terrace.

Curtin Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry said the scholarships recognised the outstanding research capabilities and aspirations of these students.

“I am delighted to welcome Frederik and Kit to Curtin and congratulate them on being named as prestigious Forrest Research Foundation Scholars,” Professor Terry said.

Mrs Nicola Forrest said investing in research was critical to creating a culture that valued advanced knowledge and ideas that could change the world in which we live.

“The winners represent some of the world’s best young minds and their passion and commitment to solving issues at a global level makes them ideal candidates for the 2017 Forrest Scholarships,” Mrs Forrest said.

Mr Frederik Seersholm said he felt privileged to be awarded the scholarship and looked forward to progressing his studies at Curtin.

“My PhD will apply genetic methods to study bone fragments from a range of sites across the world and aims to build a detailed map of biodiversity and species composition,” Mr Seersholm said.

“My research will serve to make people aware of the effects they have on ecosystems and this scholarship will assist me in achieving this goal.”

Ms Kit Prendergast said she was incredibly honoured to be selected as a Forrest Scholar and apply her passion to generate world-class science.

“My research project involves assessing native bee assemblages in urban habitat fragments in South West WA and investigating how the introduced European honeybee, Apis mellifera, interacts with these native pollinators,” Ms Prendergast said.

“The Forrest Scholarship will enable me to realise the full potential of my project and the generous financial assistance will provide invaluable support and stability.”

Mr Ryuta Ujihara, a graduate from Kyoto University, was also awarded the Scholarship and will complete his PhD at The University of Western Australia.

A nature lover from Japan, his PhD will address some of the world’s biggest environmental issues, including a future worldwide water shortage caused by human pressures such as an increasing population, rapid urbanisation and climate change.

Mr Ujihara said he was thrilled with the news which will allow him to study the desalination of seawater and wastewater at UWA using special water purification technology.

“The scholarship provides me a secure environment to focus on my research as well as opportunities for professional development. It allows me to work with great researchers with the chance to make wider connections to the community,” he said.

Mr Ujihara is keen to commercialise the findings of his research.

“During my PhD program, I want to discover how to connect scientific findings to actual applications. I hope to obtain some patents in my research for commercialisation in WA,” he said.

Despite graduating from Kyoto University in Japan, Mr Ujihara said he prefers to live in cities closer to nature and is hoping to spend his free time discovering WA’s natural beauty.

“Although pursuing a PhD is going to be very hard, I want to find time for activities like hiking or water sports to enjoy the nature of WA.”

The winners represent some of the world’s best young minds and Mr Ujihara’s passion and commitment to solving issues at a global level makes him an ideal candidate for a 2017 Forrest Scholarship.

Media References

David Stacey (UWA Media Manager) (+61 8) 6488 3229 / (+61 4) 32 637 716

Lauren Sydoruk, (Curtin Media Officer) (08) 9266 4241 / 0401 103 877

Susanna Wolz, (Curtin, Media Manager) (08) 9266 9085 / 0401 103 877

Madelaine Fisher, (Executive Officer, Forrest Research Foundation) (08) 6488 5598 / 0447 176 213