For her dedicated work in advocating Australia’s space industry to the world, Naomi Mathers has won the 2014 Women in Industry, Industry Advocacy Award.
Since completing her degree in Aerospace Engineering, Mathers has worked tirelessly to promote the space industry in both Australia and internationally through her participation in a variety of programs.
Mathers has distinguished herself by working across the differing domains within the space industry including government, defence, research and academia, and has demonstrated the ability to understand the needs of each domain and facilitate projects that benefit all partners and grow the sector as whole.
These projects include Australia joining the International Space Education Board where Mathers represented her country from 2009-2012. During this time, Mathers worked with heads of education to promote opportunities in Australia. Through the ISEB, Australia gained access to the NASA Academy Program and Mathers established the VSSEC-NASA Australian Space Prize.
Aiming to create a sustainable Australian space industry, Mathers also led the preparation of the successful bid for a Space and Spatial Industry Innovation Precinct. The bid was supported by 95 organisations, and the precinct, to be built in Canberra, will facilitate connections across industry, government, research and education.
Mathers was also instrumental in establishing the Kibo-ABC initiative, and as the Australian representative on the Space Utilisation Working Group, she facilitated access to the International Space Station (ISS) for Asia-Pacific countries. To date, three Australian experiments have been conducted on the ISS.
Education and mentoring is important to Mathers and this led her to establish a summer internship program for undergraduates which aims to develop their technical skills to develop a broader understanding of the Australian Space industry.
The judges were impressed with Mathers’ commitment and passion to her field.
“She has clearly demonstrated her key projects and results necessary as an industry advocate to ensure Australia's presence is enhanced in the space industry. She has engaged resources within a broad spectrum of industries both locally and internationally to achieve these results.”
Commenting on the list of “inspirational” finalists, Mathers said it was an honour to win the award.
Mathers said the space sector was multi-disciplnary and required a number of inputs to in order to be successful including policy, research and commercialisation.
“It’s very much a global industry, we can’t just look to our own capability we have to look to those partnerships internationally as well.”