Although Australian scientist Dr San Thang has worked as a leading scientist for 30 years, and this year was a contender to win the Nobel Prize in chemistry, he has been made redundant by the national science agency.
Thang, 60, received an unpaid honorary fellowship in compensation following the redundancy from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Fairfax Media reported. Since the redundancy in September, he advises PhD students from his lab in Victoria — but plans to spend most of his time running a laboratory in China.
"In Australia, the doors opened and I still want to be part of CSIRO and elsewhere to make use of my knowledge, I want to inspire people," Thang, originally from Vietnam, told Fairfax. "Being a scientist, that's what I love to do."
His love for science translated into excellence in the field, with Thang predicted as a Nobel Laureate by Thomas Reuters, that has correctly forecasted 35 Nobel Prize winners since 2002.
"Dr Thang and his colleagues, Dr Graeme Moad and Dr Ezio Rizzardo, have been included for their development of new plastics and polymers that have applications in fields including solar energy, medicine, paint and cosmetics," Griffith University wrote on its website in September. Thang completed his Bachelor of Science (Honours) in organic chemistry and his PhD in organic/polymer chemistry at the University of Griffith in 1983 and 1987 respectively.
Earlier this year, the three colleagues received the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering Clunies Ross Award for "outstanding application of science and technology that provides economic, social and/or environmental benefit to Australia."
The Staff Association at CSIRO predict more than one-fifth of the workforce will be slashed by June next year following cuts in the Federal Budget.
"Federal Government budget cuts totalling $115 million have wreaked havoc on the organisation, resulting in hundreds of jobs lost and the cancellation of important research," the association said.
In a statement CSIRO Staff Association Secretary Sam Popovski warned that the size and scale of the cuts were larger than expected.
“The job losses are ten percent higher than forecast following the Federal Budget cuts and CSIRO’s internal restructure. As the Government has slashed funding into CSIRO, it has at the same time damaged the confidence of industry to invest in CSIRO research,” Mr Popovski said.
The research predicted almost 900 jobs will be cut by the CSIRO in this financial year, which are on top of the 513 jobs lost last year. That would mean a total loss of 1,391 jobs within the national science organisation over a two year period, equalling a 21.5% cut to jobs.
"The stark reality is that one in five CSIRO staff are set to lose their jobs over a two year period. It’s the largest reduction in staffing in the organisation’s history." a spokesperson for CSIRO told Mash. “Many talented, dedicated and passionate researchers and support staff are leaving to pursue their careers elsewhere. The staff that remain face an uncertain future."
In reaction to the Federal Government's Budget cuts in May, A$111.4 million over four years, Australians took to Twitter to thank CSIRO for the contributions it had made to society as they mourned the loss to science.
— Dr Krystal (@dr_krystal) October 12, 2014
So, you know CSIRO run NASA’s spacecraft tracking facilities in Australia, right? #thankcsiroforthat http://t.co/632oxDDRhm#supportCSIRO— Dr Krystal (@dr_krystal) June 25, 2014
World first: Australian solar plant has generated “supercritical” steam that rivals fossil fuels’: http://t.co/Yn1K4iyj4C#thankCSIROforthat— EnvironmentInstitute (@environmentinst) June 6, 2014
CSIRO helped identify the genetics of grape colour. Valuable information for breeders. #thankcsiroforthat http://t.co/0qe651ngp0— David Semmens (@MostlyOcean) May 16, 2014
3D printing new bones for cancer patients. Right here in Melbourne. Amazing. http://t.co/dLPHvz0yfd #thankcsiroforthat— Dr Krystal (@dr_krystal) October 20, 2014
Tags: AUSTRALIA, CSIRO, DR THANG, SAN THANG, SCIENTIST, US & World