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Funded by Business Events Perth, the Curtin University Aspire Award is one $5,000 scholarship that will be presented to a Curtin staff member to assist in their personal and professional development through attendance at a relevant international conference in their chosen field of endeavour. Award recipients have up to 3 years to use the funds.

2020 Curtin University Aspire Award Winner, Dr Sharon Smart

Business Events Perth, in partnership with Curtin University, has presented the 2020 Aspire Award to Dr Sharon Smart from Curtin University.

Now in its 21st year, Business Events Perth’s Aspire Awards sponsor local academics and researchers to attend (and often present at) a relevant international conference in their discipline, to further their professional development and profile Western Australian research on an international stage.

Business Events Perth Chief Executive Officer Gareth Martin said he was delighted to be able to support the ongoing professional development of such an outstanding individual.

“Western Australia has notable strengths in the field of paediatric health, and bringing leading researchers such as Dr Smart together to meet in person at a business event provides unique opportunities to further the research that these outstanding people are doing to improve the lives of many,” Mr Martin said.

Dr Smart, a teaching and research academic from Curtin’s School of Occupational Therapy, Social Work and Speech Pathology. Together with research partner Dr Mary Claessen, Dr Smart is a leader in the field of tongue tie and one of few speech pathologists in Australia actively researching this condition and the impact it has on feeding skills and speech production in infants and children.

Tongue-tie, or ankyloglossia, occurs in four to 10 per cent of the population, meaning that as many as 32,000 infants will be diagnosed with this condition annually in Australia.

Dr Smart said she was grateful for the opportunity the $5000 grant has given her to attend the International Consortium of Oral Ankylofrenula Professionals (ICAP) conference, taking place in Canada next year.

“I am delighted to be recognised for my research by Business Events Perth and look forward to developing national and international research collaborations in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of tongue-tie in infants and children,” Dr Smart said.