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Dr Aaron Thornton


Principal Research Scientist


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Dr Aaron William Thornton is a Principal Research Scientist at the CSIRO and Senior Lecturer at Southern Cross University. Specialising in Mathematics, Dr Thornton develops novel and innovative solutions across materials, engineering, aerospace, computer science, machine learning and biology. Bridging the gap between fundamental science, research and industry, Dr Thornton has led several commercial projects and a vehicle for launching new products. He has completed training in Silicon Valley with Venture Capital experts across the clean tech and artificial intelligence landscape. Dr Thornton’s research has been published in Nature, Nature Materials, Energy & Environmental Science and other high-profile journals. He has established commercial relationships with Air Liquide and multiple academic relationships as a Scholar with the University of California Berkeley, Chimie ParisTech, Hanyang University, University of Cambridge UK and the National Technical University of Athens. Dr Thornton has served as the President of the Membrane Society of Australasia and currently serves on the Editorial Board for the Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research.

Current Roles

  • Editorial Board
    Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research

  • Editorial Board
    Membranes (MDPI)

  • Industry Advisory Board
    ARC Research Hub in Energy Efficient Separations

Academic Qualifications

  • 2010

    PhD in Mathematics
    University of Wollongong and CSIRO

  • 2005

    Bachelor of Mathematics and Finance (1st Class Honors)
    University of Wollongong

Professional Experiences

  • 2014-2017

    Membrane Society of Australasia

  • 2012-2013

    Membrane Society of Australasia

  • 2010-2011

    Membrane Society of Australasia

Achievements and Awards

  • 2019-2019

    Performance and Innovation Award

  • 2018-2018

    Executive Endeavour Fellowship
    Department of Education

  • 2013-2016

    Julius Career Award

  • 2013-2013

    Jacques-Emile Dubois Award
    Chemical Structure Association Trust

  • 2012-2012

    Young Tall Poppy Science Award - VIC
    Australian Institute of Policy & Science

Other highlights

  • 2016-2020

    Leader of Airthena Technology - CO2 from Air

  • 2019-2019

    Leader of 'Pocketable Oxygen Device for Home Healthcare' project with partner Air Liquide

  • 2015-2018

    Leader of 'Noble Gas Therapeutics' project with partner Air Liquide


  • 2018-2021

    'Breaking the Limit in Membranes' Research Plus Postdoctoral Fellowship

  • 2018-2021

    'Engineering Ion Channels for Selective and Switchable Ion Conduction' ARC Discovery Project

  • 2017-2022

    'Research Hub for Energy-Efficient Separation' ARC Industry Transformation Research Hub

  • 2017-2019

    Science and Industry Endowment Fund - Experimental Development Program - 'CO2Gen: A product that generates pure CO2 directly from the atmosphere'

  • 2016-2017

    'Start-Up Company Development' - Innovation Acceleration Fund

  • 2016-2016

    Deep Technology Accelerator - Bright Arena

  • 2015-2015

    3D Snapshot of Termites Nest for Bio-Inspired Design of Porous Materials" Australian Synchrotron

  • 2012-2012

    'Research Intensification: Closing the High Throughput Research Loop with Knowledge-Driven In-Silico Prediction and an Automatic Experimental Design and Management Tool" - CSIRO Intelligent Processing Transformational Capability Platform

  • 2011-2016

    'Solving the Energy the Energy Waste Roadblock' - Science and Industry Endowment Fund