Royal Society of Chemistry honour for Deakin chemist

Designing Smarter Technologies

Professor Neil Barnett is the 2017 Royal Society of Chemistry Australasian Lecturer.

Celebrating its 175th anniversary this year, the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) is the oldest chemical society in the world and Alfred Deakin Professor and Personal Chair Neil Barnett is the 57th person, and the first Deakin academic, to win its distinguished Australasian Lectureship.

Prof Barnett, who specialises in analytical chemistry, spectroscopy and separation science, joins a long list of eminent Australian and New Zealand chemical scientists who have held the lectureship, including current secretary of the RSC’s Australian section Prof Alan Bond, Emeritus Prof Robert Cattrall from La Trobe University and Prof Sally Brooker from University of Otago, New Zealand.

The RSC has 54,000 members around the world and 23 local sections based in countries outside the UK. Each local section is run by a committee of volunteers from the chemical sciences community.

The Australian committee elects a RSC Australasian Lecturer from Australian and New Zealand universities each year to visit up to 32 universities in Australia and six in New Zealand during the course of the year, lecturing about their work and producing a report that is published in “Chemistry in Australia”.

Prof Barnett said he was “very happy” to be counted amongst the big names in his field.

“I’m pleased to be in the company of people like Robert Cattrall, who is really the father of analytical chemistry in this country,” he said.

“It’s a great honour and cool for chemistry at Deakin.”
Professor Neil Barnett
Professor Neil Barnett Alfred Deakin Professor

Deakin’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Peter Hodgson congratulated Prof Barnett and said the invitation to the prestigious lectureship was a “coup for Deakin.”

“Neil is one of our top chemical scientists and it’s great that his work is being rewarded in this way.

“It’s worth noting that the RSC Australasian Lecturer is not a prize that can be applied for – the recipient is chosen each year by a committee of their peers,” Prof Hodgson said.

“This is a real acknowledgment of the contribution Neil has made to his field around the world.”

Prof Barnett, whose long career in chemistry has led him from Australia to the UK and back again, spent some time as a research scientist in the commercial chemical sector before being lured back to academia.

He has since been awarded the Royal Australian Chemical Institute Analytical Chemistry Division Medal and a Doctorate in Science from Deakin for his contributions to analytical chemistry.

He said the presentations he would give as the 2017 RSC Australasian Lecturer would be a “pot pourri” of his research in recent years, which has focused on analytical, synthetic, physical and process chemistry, instrumental design and chemometrics in a number of areas.