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Nth Island Scientists Honoured At National Awards

North Island Scientists Honoured At National Awards

Analysing simulated yacht races to see which Americas’ Cup yacht design would outperform others has earned Auckland Science Engineer David Teirney one of this year’s prestigious FiRST Awards.

David is one of five national FiRST Award winners for 2000. These Awards were initiated by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology last year to recognise excellence among young researchers.

In announcing the South Island winners earlier this week, the Minister for Research, Science and Technology, the Hon Pete Hodgson said these young people ‘are the ‘intellectual horsepower’ of our future and we don’t do enough to celebrate this.

“It is the vision of this government to actively transform New Zealand’s economy and move beyond our reliance on primary industries. The ‘knowledge economy’ is already a cliché but knowledge is what our future wealth will come from,” Mr Hodgson said.

The Minister told a gathering of 150 business leaders and academics that it was a priority of the government to raise private sector investment in R&D as well as better support and fund basic research. He also said they intended to support strategic research and would be releasing more details about how the government intended to do that in next month’s budget.

The Foundation has funded more than 600 Fellows during the past seven years, which represents an investment of more than $27 million in research projects.

CEO Steve Thompson said “our investment is building New Zealand’s human capital and the benefits of this will flow through the whole economy. By investing in skills up front, early on, we are creating a resource that will go on adding value for the next 20 - 30 years.”

“Our challenge now is to encourage more young people to pursue careers in science and technology. These FiRST Awards are helping to achieve that,” Dr Thompson said.

NOTES ON THE WINNERS ARE ATTACHED

For further information: Beverly Martens - (04) 473 1129 or mobile 025 444 788 Patricia Donovan, Communications Manager at FRST - 025 226 4136

NOTES TO EDITORS

The FiRST Awards are designed to recognise outstanding university students in science, technology and engineering. They are also a part of the Foundation’s overall communications effort to promote its Fellowships schemes which help underpin New Zealand’s drive toward building a knowledge society.

They are open to Graduates in Industry Fellows who have completed their projects in the last 12 months, and to current Fellows of the New Zealand Science and Technology Post- Doctoral and Tuapapa Putaiao Maori Fellowship schemes.

The winners this year are: DavidTierney who analysed the results of thousands of simulated yacht races to see which Americas’ Cup yacht design would outperform others under uncertain weather conditions GinaMohi at the University of Waikato, who is looking at how to optimise the oil content of kawakawa trees, for use in traditional Maori medicines MeganMcKenna, of Massey University, who is examining what impacts restructuring and globalisation is having on our Pipfruit industry.

The following fellows were Highly Commended: CatherineMorrow from AgResearch in Hamilton, for her research into indicators of stress in cattle NishaD’Souza, now a lecturer in at Massey University, for her analysis and development of cleaning products for use in the dairy industry.

South Island FiRST Awards’ winners were announced at a function in Christchurch on Monday night. They are: FionaCarswell, for her research work into the impacts of climate change on the West Coast forests RachelForrest for her work looking for a genetic marker to improve the cold survivability rate of newborn lambs.

More information about the Awards (and previous winners) can be found on the Foundation’s website: http://{ HYPERLINK http://Www.frst.govt.nz/public/fellowships/firstawards/htm }www.frst.govt.nz/public/fellowships/firstawards/htm

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