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Media release: Scientist of the Year joins US roundtable


A Flinders University scientist’s internationally-respected expertise in coal seam gas and fracking has seen him appointed to a prestigious new US entity.

South Australia’s Scientist of the Year, Professor Craig Simmons, who leads the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training at Flinders University, has been named a member of the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Roundtable on Unconventional Hydrocarbon Development.

The roundtable will examine issues related to the development of unconventional hydrocarbon resources such as shale oil and gas. Professor Simmons’ invitation recognises his world-leading research in hydrology and unconventional hydrocarbon development.

Professor Simmons says he is honoured and excited by his selection for this important organisation.

“Unconventional gas sources, such as coal seam gas and fracking, are huge issues in Australia and overseas and I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with the US National Academies to gather, critically examine, and communicate facts and data regarding the scientific, engineering, human and environmental health and safety, regulatory, economic, and societal aspects of unconventional hydrocarbon development,” Professor Simmons says.

The US National Academies Roundtable is a joint activity of all US National Academies – the US National Academy of Sciences, the US National Academy of Engineering and the US National Academy of Medicine.

Its members are among the world’s most distinguished scientists, engineers, physicians, and researchers; more than 300 members are Nobel Laureates.

The joint US National Academies Roundtable will serve as a neutral forum where experts from government, industry, academia, and non-governmental and international organisations can meet on an ongoing basis and will identify and help to advance activities of broad value to key stakeholders. It will also assist in informing decision-making about development of these resources.

“It is an incredible opportunity for bilateral and international exchange of ideas, information and experiences on such a critical, complex and contentious issue,” Professor Simmons said.

Flinders University Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Parkin congratulated Professor Simmons on his appointment.

“This prestigious and remarkable appointment by the US National Academies is a great testament to Professor Simmons’ international standing and credibility as a scientist.

“It is also a major international recognition of both an Australian scientist and Australian science.

“Flinders University is delighted to support Professor Simmons and the US National Academies in this very important new initiative,” Professor Parkin said.

Recently named the 2015 South Australian Scientist of the Year, Professor Simmons is Matthew Flinders Distinguished Professor of Hydrogeology and Schultz Chair in the Environment. He was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering in 2014. He is a member of the Federal Government’s Statutory Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development.

Professor Simmons is The Advertiser’s Scientist in Residence. His article explaining how fracking works can be viewed online here

- See more at: http://blogs.flinders.edu.au/flinders-news/2015/10/09/scientist-of-the-year-joins-us-roundtable/#sthash.i2s7yaIt.dpuf