Expert fossil technician earns national award

Carey Burke from the Flinders University Palaeontology Laboratory has won recognition for outstanding work as a fossil preparator and technical officer, winning only the fourth ever National Excellence Award for Tertiary Technical Staff – and the first recipient of this award from South Australia.

The presentation ceremony at the annual Australian TechNet Conference in Brisbane on November 22 noted that the judging panel was unanimous in selecting Mr Burke for his specialisation one of Australia’s most skilled fossil preparators.

Mr Burke has been a Laboratory Technician in the Flinders Palaeontology Laboratory since 2003 and is involved in most technical aspects of palaeontology lab operations, applying best-practise approaches to fossil preparation and replication (via moulding and casting), collection curation and fieldwork logistics.

“This award not only reflects my personal achievements, it universally represents the essential roles that all technical staff perform in any institution,” says Mr Burke.

“It’s great to see our fabulous technical staff get due credit for supporting the achievements of researchers and students,” says Professor Gavin Prideaux, director of Palaeontology at Flinders University.

Professor John Long, Strategic Professor of Palaeontology at Flinders University, and President, Royal Society of South Australia, agrees. “Carey’s careful preparation work and all-round field support has been instrumental to getting our palaeontological research published in world-leading scientific journals.”

Associate Professor Trevor Worthy, Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellow in Palaeontology at Flinders University, says “Carey has a broad range of skills which are key to the success of our research group. His contribution has been especially important to the successful completion of research by numerous students.”

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