Speakers Profile - Dr Niraj Lal

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Dr Niraj Lal has won awards for renewable energy research, science communication, and human rights activism. He graduated from the University of Cambridge as a Gates Scholar with a PhD in Physics in 2012, was a Renewable Energy Lecturer at the ANU from 2012 - 2015, named one of the ABC's Top 5 Scientists Under 40 in 2016, and has experience teaching and researching science across multiple universities and organisations. He presented the ABC TV documentary on The Grid for Catalyst in 2021, was a Principal Energy Advisor for the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet, and is currently a Principal at AEMO, Senior Member of the IEEE, Visiting Fellow at the ANU, and an academic expert for the International Energy Agency PV Task 14 Program 'High penetration of PV systems in electricity grids'.

With science communication, Nij is a regular presenter on television and radio, including as presenter of documentaries for ABC Catalyst and ABC Science. He has appeared alongside Dr Karl, Todd Sampson, Dr Norman Swan and others on the Discovery Channel, Foxtel and the World Festival of Science Brisbane and regularly appears on Breakfast News and ABC Radio National. He is the current Resident Scientist of ABC Kids Listen where he hosts the Apple Top 10 kids podcast Imagine This which has featured Nobel Prizewinner Brian Schmidt AC, President of the Australian Academy of Science Prof. Jagadish AC, and leading academics across Australia. Niraj is the author of Henry the Flying Emu - a children's story about gravity published by Woodlane Press; his audiobook is currently on rotation for ABC Kids Storytime. In 2021 Nij was awarded the Australia Museum's Celestino Eureka Prize for Promoting Understanding of Science.

Niraj has written and spoken widely about press freedom, transparency and human rights. He was a guest on the Walkley-nominated documentary Ithaka: A Fight to Free Julian Assange and Trust Fall, and is a current National Council member for Australians For War Powers Reform. He has spoken as an invited speaker across a number of forums including the Australian Singularity Summit, the Junkee Unconference, TEDxSydney Sustainability Salon, Gippsland Festival of Big Ideas, the Glen Eira Storytelling Festival, and Splendour in the Grass. His writing received the Royal Societies of Australia and New Zealand Piasecki Prize for Outstanding Writing on Social Change in 2022.