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Ray Fisher Award for Technical Excellence

The Ray Fisher Award for Technical Excellence recognises an individual for technical excellence in the broader transport industry. Previously known as the RA Award for Technical Excellence, it was renamed in 2019 to honour our former President and Life Member, Ray Fisher.

At the 2019 Annual Lunch in Sydney, the Award was presented to Dr Richard Kelly, SMEC's Chief Technical Principal – Geotechnical, in recognition of his best practice and innovative approach to soft soil engineering.

Richard led the creation of the National Soft Soil Field Testing Facility, the research from which has led to improved industry practices for soil sampling testing and numerical analysis, greatly reducing costs and risk for projects while delivering improved performance.

He has authored and co-authored over 100 technical publications, with his contributions to the industry being recognised with the awarding of the international Shamsher Prakash Award for practice, as well as honorary professorial positions at the universities of Newcastle and Wollongong.

Most recently Richard helped deliver the Ballina Bypass, applying new ground improvement technologies that significantly reduced the time and cost of construction.

Pictured is Richard (centre) with our former President Ray Fisher on his left and our current President Michael Bushby to his right.

How to nominate

To be eligible, a nominee's field of contribution must be in a technical or scientific area relevant to transport in Australia.  His or her contribution must be outstanding, measured directly in terms of impact on the industry, including the transformational change to the industry.

Inquiries about the Award should be directed to RA's Director - Corporate Affairs, Simon Morgan.


The following conditions and guidelines apply in making the award:

  • Field of Contribution. The field of contribution must be in a technical or scientific area relevant to transport in Australia.  Indicative areas of contribution include road construction, design, safety, freight, research, and sustainability.
  • Impact of Contribution. The contribution must be outstanding.  This will be measured directly in terms of its impact on the industry, the advancement of science and the community.   
  • Recognition of Contribution. The extent to which the contribution is acknowledged by the candidate’s professional peers within the relevant scientific or technical field.
  • Personal Achievement. It must be demonstrated that the candidate’s contribution significantly reflects personal endeavour, as distinct from the work of others.
  • Originality. Candidates will also be assessed on the originality and unique quality of their contribution and the transformational change to the industry.  The spark of innovation must be evident.  
  • Durability. Candidates will also be assessed on the extent to which their contribution is likely to endure and be applied by future generations. 
  • Further potential. Ideally candidates for the award will still have further contributions to make to the industry and the community.  It is expected that the award will recognise their achievements to date and thereby enhance the opportunity for the candidate to make yet a further contribution. 

The Roll of Honour

2019 - Dr Richard Kelly

2018 - Harry Asche

2017 - Rod Troutbeck

2016 - John Hilton

2015 - Professor Mary Lydon

2014 - Rahmi Akçelik

2013 - Kieran Sharp

2012 - John Hodgkinson

2011 - Dr John B Metcalf