John Swan award 2022

  • The John Swan Scholarship is open to students who are enrolled in the 2022 Honours program in the School of Chemistry, Clayton Campus, Monash University.
  • The successful applicant will be awarded the John Swan Scholarship at a celebratory event attended by staff and students of the School of Chemistry in Semester I.

How to apply

Apply online: Application for the John Swan Scholarship

Applications for the 2022 John Swan Scholarship must be received by December 17, 2021.

John Swan Award

John Swan (1924-2015) started his chemical career in an explosives factory and in 1944 completed a Diploma in Applied Chemistry at the Royal Melbourne Technical College (now known as RMIT). He completed a BSc at the University of Melbourne (1947) and won a scholarship to pursue a PhD at the University of London (1949) exploring penicillin synthesis. After returning to Australia he worked for CSIR (now called CSIRO) in its Protein Division, and as a Fulbright scholar travelled to Cornell University Medical College, NY, to chemically synthesise the recently isolated cyclic peptide hormone, oxytocin. In 1966 he was appointed as the first Professor of Organic Chemistry in the School of Chemistry at Monash University. In the 1970s he served as Pro-Vice Chancellor and the Dean of the Faculty of Science (1976-1984). After his retirement in 1985, he established the Victorian Institute of Marine Sciences and the Monash Centre for Human Bioethics. He continued to research the environmental impact of offshore oil and gas exploration, tested and lobbied for cigarette tar content to be publicised on products, and tirelessly planted seagrass into mudflats to retore Westernport mangrove forests. He was a devoted environmentalist, inventor and conservationist, and lover of art, music and poetry.

The John Swan Chemistry Honours Scholarship, established in his honour, is the School of Chemistry's premier award at the undergraduate level. It is awarded to a high-achieving undergraduate student who wishes to continue their passion in chemistry through research in the School of Chemistry.

It is our pleasure to announce that the 2021 John Swan Award recipient is India Wright.


“During my Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Global Studies, I discovered a love of chemistry for the analytical and critical thinking it applies to problem solving. I gravitated towards the junction between chemistry and biology and saw a lot of potential for applying analytical methods to better understand biological systems. Completing a research project during my undergraduate degree was an incredible experience which introduced me to the field of bioanalytical chemistry through molecular dynamics simulations of peptide aggregation. This inspired me to undertake my chemistry honours project and continue developing my research skills.

This year I will be exploring the utility of electrochemical techniques for assessing the redox balance of mitochondria from reproductive tissues. Electrochemistry shows a promising ability to provide more detailed data regarding redox processes than traditional biochemical techniques. Radical oxygen species and oxidative stress have been implicated in a number of diseases and poor reproductive outcomes, however, debate regarding their production and cellular roles persists. It is my aspiration that this project will add novel insights to improve knowledge of mitochondrial redox balance, with the ultimate goal of informing the development of targeted therapeutics for a range of applications.”

India Wright