Tom Rhymes technical development award

Purpose of the award

The Tom Rhymes technical development award was established to celebrate the life of Dr. Tom Rhymes, a talented PhD student who studied at the School during the 1970's. Following a successful career in the United States, Tom returned to the School to undertake an integral leadership role as the Head of the Electronics Unit and later the School's Facilities and Services Manager. Tom was an ardent supporter of the technical services throughout the School and fostered an environment that, to this day, espouses his philosophy of "can help, can do". Until his untimely death in 2000, Tom inspired those around him, challenging them to view their jobs not merely as "work" but as an opportunity for great fun.

Description of the award

The annual award consists of a monetary prize of up to $2,400 together with a certificate. The award is intended to assist one or more outstanding technical staff members of the Research School of Physics with their career development.

Although it is envisaged that there may be several successful applicants per round, the final number of awards will be determined by the available funds and the proposed program of the successful applicant(s).

Use of the award

The following range of activities for which the award can be applied, is not intended to be prescriptive. As a guide however, awards would normally be made to technical staff attending conferences, workshops, trade shows, training courses and for collaborative visits to other organisations to facilitate knowledge transfer among peers. Team applications are also encouraged.

Timing of award

The Tom Rhymes award(s) will be presented annually, coordinated with the School's founder's day celebrations. Once the selection process has been completed, Dr Rosalie Grant (or her nominee) will be informed of the outcome and invited to present the award.

Application procedure

Complete the Tom Rhymes award application form (DOCX, 31kB) addressing each of the selection criteria as listed on the form and forward to the Physics School Manager.

Applications are due on the 13th October 2023 for the current round.


Nominations must address all of the selection criteria:

Other matters relevant to the award:

Previous recipients

Most importantly, the award has contributed significantly towards my career development as a technical staff member, enhancing my future career prospects at the RSPE and ANU and encouraging a positive outlook towards self-positioning and career

The Tom Rhymes technical development award was first awarded in 2009 to Mr Gareth Crook, currently in the Department of Nuclear Physics. The award assisted Gareth to attend the Autodesk Inventor 3D CAD modelling course in Sydney where he gained an advanced understanding of solid modelling using Inventor 2010 and the ability to use the tool efficiently in his role. With these newly acquired skills, Gareth has had the opportunity to coach and impart knowledge to fellow technical colleagues on the use of the tool.

In addition to the efficient use of Inventor I have been able to share my knowledge with other technical staff with in RSPE and technical staff from other schools within ANU

In 2010, the Tom Rhymes Technical Development Award was presented to Mr Tom Kitchen, also in the Department of Nuclear Physics. The award assisted Tom to attend the 2011 Autodesk Inventor training course and as a result was able to assist with the modelling and design of new and existing parts for the four particle accelerators at the RSPE.

The 2011 Tom Rhymes award was awarded to 20 technical staff from 8 departments in the School to undertake an AutoDesk Inventor Training. This training was also co-funded by departments within the School and the School. The training was undertaken in July and August 2011.

2012: Stephen Marshall (Electronics Unit) - Training in Embedded Systems Design

2013: Pat Lang (SS)- Course on Power Quality, Ross Tranter and Steve Battisson (AMPL) - Course on Turbomolecular Pump Operation

2014: Stephen Holgate (MWS) and Alex Shanahan (MWS)

2015: Luke Materne (EU)- Undertaking an introduction to Solid Modelling - PLUS and Mark Gwyneth (PRL) - Course using AutoCad Inventor

2016: Thomas Tunningley (NP)– Autodesk Conference attendance and Mark Gwyneth (PRL)- 3D printing training

2017: Brent Graeme (NP)- Australian Synchrotron (ANSTO) Visit




Selection committee

The selection committee will be comprised of the following staff or their nominees; the Deputy Director (Infrastructure), School Facilities & Services Manager, Workshop Manager(s) and a Departmental Head Technical Officer.


School Manager

(02) 612 55185