The Victor Chang School Science Award has been developed by the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute to foster and encourage an interest in science among secondary school students. The Institute is committed to the promotion of science in the broader community and its application to the betterment of our society. The Institute believes that it is vitally important to recognise the efforts and achievements of Australian school students in the area of science.
The Victor Chang School Science Award is presented each year in November to one Year 11 student who demonstrates the highest level of educational achievement, innovation, creativity, and hard work in their science class.
Victor Chang (1936 - 1991) was a Chinese-born Australian cardiac surgeon and a pioneer of modern heart transplantation. Born in Shanghai to Australian-born Chinese parents, he grew up in Hong Kong before moving to Australia. After completing his medical studies at the University of Sydney and working in St Vincent's Hospital, he trained in the United Kingdom and the United States as a surgeon before returning to Australia. In St Vincent's Hospital, he helped establish the National Cardiac Transplant Unit, the country's leading centre for heart and lung transplants. Chang's team had a high success rate in performing heart transplantations and he pioneered the development of an artificial heart valve.
In 1986, Chang was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia for his "service to international relations between Australia and China and to medical science". In 1991, Chang died after being shot in a failed extortion attempt against him. His legacy includes the creation of the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, being voted Australian of the Century at the People's Choice Awards and the establishment of the Victor Chang Lowy Packer Building in St Vincent's Hospital.