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Stephanie Watson awarded prestigious NSW Premier's Prize

30 October 2019
Congratulations Stephanie
Professor Stephanie Watson from the Save Sight Institute and University of Sydney won the NSW Premier Prize for Leadership in Innovation in New South Wales.

Professor Stephanie Watson is an innovator and clinician. Her discoveries have led to novel therapies for corneal diseases – globally, the most common cause of irreversible blindness. These innovations have not only provided solutions to restore sight and promote eye health, they now have changed clinical practice and improved patient outcomes.

She said: “The award is important as it recognises the value of the innovation and research that I have brought to the clinic – patients with corneal blindness have had their sight restored and accessed new and effective treatments. Working within NSW Health and at the University of Sydney, the award affirms the world-class environment being created to support innovation.

“My work aims to transform the lives of those affected by corneal blindness by leading with integrity, using innovation and research to restore sight, and training the next generation of eye experts.”

Professor Watson’s innovations have placed NSW and Australia on the global ophthalmology map, including an internationally recognised world-first stem cell therapy. These treatments use simple solutions to save sight and have a potential global market worth of over $20 billion.

Her research has also established NSW as the national frontrunner in clinical trials, leading to real-world evidence that has directly improved patient outcomes. She developed the first local surveillance report and guidelines for corneal infection – work which has changed practice in NSW Health.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian presented the awards to Professor Stephanie Watson and other recipients, at a ceremony at Government House on Tuesday night. 

Ms Berejiklian said that the Prizes were an opportunity to celebrate the extraordinary contribution that NSW scientists and engineers make to our everyday lives.

“The NSW Government will continue to support our state’s finest scientists and engineers, to ensure that their innovative thinking is translated into important solutions to our state’s ever-changing challenges,” Ms Berejiklian said.

The Premier’s Prizes recognise excellence in science and engineering, and reward leading researchers for cutting-edge work that has generated economic, environmental, health, social or technological benefits for New South Wales. Congratulations to all recipients. 

Professor Stephanie Watson is a Chief Investigator with Stem Cells Australia.