Australian and New Zealand
Optical Society    

The Geoff Opat Early Career Researcher Prize recognises an outstanding early career researcher for their contribution to the field of optics and photonics. The award is named in honour of Professor Geoffrey Ivan Opat AO FAA, a distinguished researcher in nuclear and particle physics. The prize is A$1500, awarded annually, and includes an invitation to present at the annual ANZOS conference. The recipient of the prize will also write an article for ANZOS News.

An application consists of a one-page description of the applicant's career and research achievements since completing their PhD, addressing the selection criteria below. Two confidential references are required for each application: one from a suitable member of the applicant's home institution such as their direct supervisor or Head of Department, and one from an individual familiar with the applicant’s research, but outside the applicant’s institution. In each reference, the referees must address the three criteria for the award listed below. 

The Prize is judged by a committee appointed by the ANZOS Council. Applicants must be members of ANZOS at the time of submission. The award need not be made in a given year if the Prize Committee so chooses.

Applications from female candidates and members of other historically under-represented and disadvantaged groups in STEM are strongly encouraged.

Selection criteria

  1. Evidence of the quality and significance of the applicant's research.
  2. Evidence of the degree of the applicant's independence in research.
  3. Evidence of applicant’s contribution to the Optics community in Australia and/or New Zealand, including education, mentorship, outreach and/or public engagement.


  1. Candidates must be within 5 years of completion of their PhD (as defined by conferral date) at 07 June in the year of application.
  2. Applications must be submitted by the candidate themselves. 
  3. Applicants must be a current financial member of ANZOS at the time of submission. 
  4. Adjustment to the eligibility period of 5 years for part-time employment and significant career interruptions (at least 2-3 months), such as parental/carer responsibilities or illness, are welcome and will be considered on the basis of a short statement from the candidate. Typically, part-time employment or interruption will be considered pro-rata while primary care of a dependant child including parental leave will give up to 2 years eligibility extension.
    To check your exemption eligibility, please email before preparing your application with a short statement outlining your case for exemption. The committee will respond promptly.

Submission components

Applicants should provide

  1. A maximum 1200 word  narrative written by the applicant specifically addressing the three selection criteria in separate sections under the headings
    • Research Quality and Significance
    • Research Independence, 
    • Contribution to the optics community in Australia and/or New Zealand

      The narrative should present the research in an accessible way to readers within the optics community, but outside the specific area of the applicant. It should convey the researcher’s approach to their research program, rather than simply providing a list of achievements.
  2. Names and contact details of the two referees (one from inside and one from outside the applicant's current institution.) 
    Applicants are responsible for 1) advising the referees of the selection criteria to be addressed, 2) ensuring that the referees supply the reference letters to the ANZOS Secretary by the closing date.
  3. A current curriculum vitae.
  4. A list of the applicant’s refereed journal or conference publications in the past 5 years.
    Publications must be accepted, not just submitted, and must include acceptance dates for any not yet published.
  5. Optional statement detailing any career interruptions and requesting an extension to the 5 year from PhD eligibility period.


  1. Applications must be submitted by the applicant themselves via email to the ANZOS email. You can address your submission to the ANZOS Secretary.
  2. The two reference letters should be sent directly by the referees to the ANZOS Secretary.
    Applicants are responsible for ensuring the letters reach the Secretary by the closing date.
  3. For the 2024 award, all nomination materials must reach the ANZOS Secretary by the closing date of 21 June 2024 (deadline extended from 07 June).

     Previous winners of the AOS Geoff Opat Early Career Researcher Prize:

  • 2023: Dr Sarah Scholten - University of Adelaide
  • 2022: Dr Haoran Ren - Macquarie University and Monash University
  • 2021: Dr Daria Smirnova - Australian National University
  • 2020: Dr Andreas Boes - RMIT University
  • 2019: Dr Jiawen Li - University of Adelaide and Dr Ke Wang - RMIT University
  • 2018: Dr Mohsen Rahmani -  Australian National University
  • 2017: Dr Sergey Kruk -  Australian National University
  • 2016: Dr Andrea Blanco Redondo - University of Sydney
  • 2015: Dr Marcus Doherty - Australian National University
  • 2014: Dr Jochen Schroeder - University of Sydney
  • 2013: Dr Igor Aharonovich - The University of Technology Sydney
  • 2012: Dr Nathan Langford - The University of Queensland
  • 2011: Dr Thomas White - The University of Sydney
  • 2010: Dr Alexander Argyros - The University of Sydney
  • 2009: Dr Ilya Shadrivov - The Australian National University
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