Renee Webster

Favourite Thing: Discovering something new, or figuring out a new way of doing things that no one else has ever done before.



Toodyay District High School (1997-99) Northam Senior High School (2000-1)


University of Western Australia (2002-2005) BSc(Hons), Monash University (2012-) PhD

Work History:

I’ve done lots of things with my chemistry degree! Environmental water/soil/air testing, DNA fingerprinting, atmospheric monitoring, food chemistry…


Defence Science and Technology Organisation

Current Job:

Research Chemist in Fuels and Lubricants and PhD student

Me and my work

I research fuels and lubricants used by the Australian Defence Forces.

I use lots of different scientific instruments to look at all of the chemicals that make up fuels. A growing area of my research is towards alternatively-derived fuels from plants, algae or synthetic processes. I also help people in the Australian Defence Forces (Air Force, Army and Navy) if they are having any problems with their fuels.

My Typical Day

No two days are the same in research!

I often spend about half of my day in the lab, testing and analysing different fuel samples. For the other half of the day I will either look at the data I’ve collected, or write about the results in a report or paper. Sometimes I travel to military bases or conferences to talk to people about my work.

What I'd do with the money

Donate to either Primary Connections or Scientists in Schools

Primary Connections and Scientists in Schools are two programs that help to bring science into the classroom. Recently the government decided to stop funding Primary Connections. Luckily, physicist Brian Schmidt has kept this program going with some of his Nobel Prize winnings. Scientists in Schools is a program I am involved in, I am partnered with a primary school where I go in and help with their science lessons.

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Mostly normal ish

Who is your favourite singer or band?

If I’m trying to appear cool – PJ Harvey, if I’m being honest – Billy Joel

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Fill out this profile

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

1. I wish my dog could talk to me 2. Every piece of glassware I ever need is clean, unbroken and found in the correct shelf 3. To win I’m A Scientist – Get Me Out of Here!

What did you want to be after you left school?

I wanted to be a scientist but I didn’t think I was smart enough

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

Not really, I was pretty quiet

What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

A few years ago I visited several Aboriginal communities in the Top End for my work, what an amazing experience – it is like another world up there

Tell us a joke.

Do you want to hear a joke about sodium? Na

Sports followed


Favourite team

West Coast Eagles