Rita Cornforth Fellowship

Rita Cornforth

The Fellowship was established to honour the pioneering contributions of Lady Rita Cornforth (1915-2012). You may not have heard her name, but she was one of Australia’s most important scientists. As an organic chemist, she pioneered the synthesis of penicilliamine, steroids and the stereochemistry of molecules involved in the biosynthesis of cholesterol.

In recognition of her work, in 1996 the Research School of Chemistry, under the direction of Professor John White, established the Rita Cornforth Fellowship. The Fellowship, dedicated to promoting women in science, provides recipients with five years of funding to work at the Research School of Chemistry. The funding is then associated with a permanent position in the School.

The Fellowship is for early-mid career academics to pursue their research-focused career in chemistry, preferably with research interests that align with one or more of the existing research themes of the School.

Fellows are appointed at ANU Academic Level B, C or D, determined by a holistic assessment of their achievements in research, education, services and leadership.

Fellows have an outstanding record in research, and will involve teaching both in the candidate’s area of specialisation and standard undergraduate chemistry courses. Fellows are provided with a generous start-up package to assist with start-up costs, research/laboratory costs and conference travel.

Fellowship Holders

  • Nicola Brasch (1998-2002)
  • Michelle Coote (2003 – 2007)
  • Megan O’Mara (2014 – 2019)
  • Annie Colebatch (2019 – 2024)