The 30th edition of the Eureka Prize was held on Tuesday night at Sydney's Australian Museum.
Seventeen prizes and $170,000 in prize money were awarded to the country's brightest, across categories of research and innovation, leadership, science engagement and school science.
"Science is at the core of everything we do and we are committed to supporting and showcasing the work of Australian scientists," Australian Museum research institute professor Kristofer Helgen said.
(The) winners show the importance of collaboration across institutions to improve Australia's scientific innovation and impact globally.
A world-first citizen science program in Victoria that uses lightweight drones to produce 3D models measuring shoreline change was recognised for its innovation.
More than 130 volunteers have been trained to pilot the drones, which are mounted with cameras and used to scan an area stretching hundreds of kilometres.
It is considered the first successful citizen-scientist program to monitor coastal changes.
The open-source data gathered by the Victorian Coastal Monitoring Program helps communities predict how beaches respond to storms and rising sea levels.
In other awards, Dr Qilin Wang from Sydney's University of Technology was recognised for being the brains behind technology that turns sewage by-product into energy.
One leadership prize went to Associate Professor Asha Bowen for her research focusing on ending infectious skin diseases in Aboriginal communities.
Professor Dacheng Tao, who has progressed "deep learning theory" around artificial intelligence decision making, received an award for excellence in data science.