Scott Johnson Memorial Award for contribution to LGBTQIA+ advocacy in the field of STEMM.

This award honours the memory of Scott and is awarded to an individual or organisation who is making lives better, and workplaces safer and more inclusive, for LGBTQIA+ people in STEMM.

This award is named in honour of Scott Johnson, a brilliant mathematician and PhD student who was killed in a gay hate crime at a Sydney beat in 1988. He was completing his PhD in Mathematics, in the area of Category Theory, between the Australian National University, Macquarie University, and the University of Sydney. At the time of his death, Scott was 27.

His death was initially ruled a suicide and it took 30 years and three coronial inquests before a gay hate crime ruling was delivered. In 1993, Scott was posthumously awarded his PhD.

The Scott Johnson Memorial Award is named with the permission of the Johnson family.

Justice for Scott Johnson Facebook Page

Previous Winners

Dr Mohammad Taha

Pronouns: they/them

Materials Scientist and Research Engineer, The University of Melbourne, Victoria

2019 Scott Johnson Memorial Award Winner

Mohammad researches phase-changing materials and their role in smart surfaces and the future of climate control. They were named as one of Australia’s 30 most innovative engineers for 2019. Mohammad is an avid advocate for queer inclusion and community at RMIT and beyond. Mohammad subsequently served as the Co-Chair of the Victorian Chapter of QueersinScience in 2020-2022.

Dr Erin McGillick

Pronouns: she/her

Biomedical Researcher, The Hudson Institute and Monash University, Victoria

2020 Scott Johnson Memorial Award Winner

Erin researches how pregnancy complications affect the way that a baby’s lungs develop, and how newborn breathing problems occur. She received a Victorian Young Tall Poppy Science Award in 2018 for her scientific achievements and science outreach efforts. She created the Hudson Ally Network and continues to drive queer inclusivity and allyship at the Hudson, Monash and beyond. Erin also fosters diversity and inclusion in her role as the director of The Australian Society for Medical Research.

Dr Sav Zwickl

Pronouns: they/them

Research Fellow, Trans Health Research Group, The University of Melbourne

2022 Scott Johnson Memorial Award Winner – Early-Career

“Sav is not only an incredibly dedicated trans health researcher, but their team recently organised an amazing online conference and gathering of trans researchers which (to my knowledge) has never happened before in Australia. Sav’s commitment to not only furthering the evidence base for trans health, but also building a community of staunch and skilled community researchers is an inspiration to me and many others.”

“Trans health is not popular or funded so queer people undertaking it creates a long lasting effect on the entire community, on understanding and assisting trans health. Inspiring through excellence at your work is a brand of activism we need more of. Being trans, looking after yourself and the community is the work of people who have gone through it and want no one else to go through it.”

Dr Sarah Gordon

Pronouns: she/her

Head of the Presynaptic Physiology Laboratory, Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health

2022 Scott Johnson Memorial Award Winner – Mid-Career

“Sarah is a leader both in her science and her leadership to change the system to support queer scientists to thrive. She was one of the founding members of QueersInScience, and led a number of impactful initiatives including the first LGBTQIA+ symposium. She has led and participated in talks/celebrations of visibility, growth and learning in her workplace + beyond (Midsumma, IDAHOBIT, QIS on neurodiversity, networking nights, Wear It Purple Day) and shows exemplar inclusive leadership in her lab head.”

Prof. Dale Tim Maurice Dominey-Howes

Pronouns: he/him

Professor of Hazards & Disaster Risk Science, Sydney University

2022 Scott Johnson Memorial Award Winner – Late-Career

Dale is a Professor of Hazards & Disaster Risk Science at Sydney University. He is their School’s inaugural LGBTIQA+ Officer, providing confidential and trusted, support to queer staff and students connecting individuals with support services inside/outside the university and improving inclusion and support. He was part of the Pride Team that implemented policies and practices resulting in the 2022 LGBTIQA+ Gold Employer Award and a senior mentor to queer STEMM staff.

He led globally significant STEMM research to spearhead the inclusion in policy and practice of queer people in disaster planning, response, and recovery for the first time. This was done through extensive research and policy leadership, advice on queer inclusionary practice in Victoria, the implementation of new National Inclusion Guidelines, a major interview for the Gender and Disaster Network, and as a regular guest speaking on this topic on the queer radio station JOY FM. Globally his work is being implemented by the United Nations.

He has advocated for queer STEMM voices as a regular media commentator, written for The Conversation, and appeared on diverse TV news and current affairs programs including The Drum and Q&A on the ABC and presented significant parts of numerous international documentaries.