News and Media

New Academy of Science fellow

Flinders University News Blog

Fellows of the Australian Academy of Science are among the nation’s most distinguished scientists, elected by their peers for leading research and contributions that have had clear impact.

This year, Professor Simmons joined 22 new fellows to the Academy’s prestigious list of 895 fellows, including Indigenous health champion Professor Tom Calma AO as the first person elected to the Academy who identifies as an Aboriginal person.

Professor Simmons is a foundation of the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training, an ARC Centre of Excellence, based at Flinders University and currently Executive Director for Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Earth Sciences at the Australian Research Council.

On Wednesday 8 June, Professor Simmons will be part of an online information session at Flinders University explaining the ARC Medical Research Policy.

At Flinders, Professor Simmons is leading the $2.6 million Groundwater Modelling Decision Support Initiative. Funded by BHP and Rio Tinto over three years, this research is building hydrology modelling and other projects for a more sustainable future.

Professor Craig Simmons at Flinders University. Photo: Randy Larcombe

Recently, Professor Simmons was a lead author of the UN World Water Development Report: Groundwater: Making the Invisible Visible (2022) and co-author of the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, another influential international contribution with the United Nations.

“I am intensely curious and love learning new things about nature,” he says. “The excitement of scientific discovery is incredibly addictive… and I want to share the joy, excitement and importance of science with everyone – from children, to politicians, to senior citizens.”

Professor Simmons is a fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering and American Geophysical Union.

“It’s a privilege to join the Australian Academy of Science fellowship, with a long history of distinguished Australians including foundation fellows Sir Douglas Mawson and Sir Mark Oliphant,” adds Professor Simmons, who won the Australian Academy of Science Anton Hales Medal for distinguished research in the Earth Sciences in  2011.

The Academy cited the international recognition Professor Simmons has received for his variable-density flow research which has “revolutionised understanding of groundwater and groundwater processes”.

“He drove development of new mathematical models capable of greater insight and accuracy by addressing the limitations of classical fluid mechanics in groundwater geoscience,” the citation says.

Disused mine filled with groundwater

“His science underpins a new knowledge framework, establishing a new modelling paradigm to inform environmental management and policy issues as diverse as food and water security, coal seam gas, fracking, nuclear waste disposal, mining and energy.”

The 2022 new fellows will present their work and achievements at Science at the Shine Dome on 23 November.

Incoming Australian Academy of Science President, Professor Chennupati Jagadish AC, congratulated the new fellows for their contributions to science.

“We reflect a diverse and inclusive science community that recognises the widest range of talents, backgrounds, perspectives and experiences, and we are united by our contribution and commitment to scientific excellence,” says Professor Jagadish.

This year for the first time the Academy achieved gender parity in the annual election of new fellows.