DMP geoscientist recognised for contributions to science in China

International Science and Technology Cooperation Award presented to GSWA’s Dr Franco Pirajno.
Date: Thursday, 15 January 2015

Dr Franco Pirajno has received China’s most prestigious award for foreign scientists. 

Recently retired Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) senior geoscientist Dr Franco Pirajno has received a prestigious 2014 International Science and Technology Cooperation Award from China’s National Office for Science and Technology Awards.

The award is presented to foreigners or foreign organisations that have made outstanding contributions to science and technology in China.

It is part of the State Science and Technology Prizes which are China’s highest honour in science and technology.

DMP Executive Director Geological Survey Dr Rick Rogerson said Dr Pirajno was one of only seven individual scientists to receive the award this year.

“This is an outstanding achievement and recognises the many decades Franco has dedicated to geoscience as an academic and professional geoscientist,” Dr Rogerson said.

As a leading authority on the geology and mineral deposits of China, Dr Pirajno was recognised for his contributions to bilateral academic cooperation and exchange, which include his 2013 book The Geology and Tectonic Settings of China's Mineral Deposits as well as numerous published articles.

He has also held professorial positions at Peking University, the China University of Geosciences Beijing, and Hefei University of Technology.

Dr Rogerson said Dr Pirajno had been a senior geoscientist in the Geological Survey of Western Australia (GSWA) since 1993 and was also well-known and highly regarded in the international science community.

“Franco brought vast amounts of geological experience to the department and was also instrumental in promoting the State’s mineral deposits and the work of GSWA to the rest of the world.

“While officially retiring from his position with DMP last year, he’s helping ensure his knowledge stays in the department by continuing to mentor the department’s junior mineral geoscientists.”

Dr Pirajno’s fields of expertise and experience include regional tectonics, ore deposit geology, and mineral exploration in the Eurasian continent, Africa, Australia and the south west Pacific Islands.

Prior to commencing with DMP, Dr Pirajno’s career saw him work as an exploration geologist with the Anglo American Corporation in South Africa, a post-doctoral research scientist at the Vesuvius Volcano Observatory, and Chair of Economic Geology at Rhodes University, South Africa.

He has published four books and more than 165 peer-reviewed papers.

Dr Pirajno accepted the International Science and Technology Cooperation Award at a ceremony on attended by Chinese State leaders on Friday 9 January at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.