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Outstanding science recognised at inaugural awards

Science New Zealand November 2017

Outstanding science recognised at inaugural awards


A woman dedicated to rebuilding fish stocks, the man at the forefront of earthquake monitoring system GeoNet, and a team dedicated to helping Pacific nations better prepare for climate change, are amongst 14 individuals and 7 teams honoured for their contributions to science.

Science New Zealand, which represents the country’s seven Crown Research Institutes (CRIs), tonight hosted its inaugural national awards at Parliament.

It has been a week of celebration for Science New Zealand, which is marking 25 years since the inception of CRIs with a conference, quick-fire public talks and displays at Te Papa, as well as the awards evening.

Science New Zealand chairman Richard Gordon said the awards recognised the exceptional people contributing their expertise, insight and dedication to benefit New Zealand.

“The CRIs are part of a tradition of government-owned science research and application going back more than 150 years. We remain true to the legacy of helping shape New Zealand’s wealth and wellbeing, creating opportunities and protecting what is important to New Zealanders.”

Achievements this year were celebrated in three categories: early career research, lifetime achievement and team with Mr Gordon congratulating the winners for their outstanding contribution and commitment to exceptional science.

The winners include:

Lifetime Achievement Award: Dr Ken Gledhill, GNS Science
Dr Gledhill designed and built the first digital seismographs in New Zealand. He was a key player in getting the geological hazard monitoring system GeoNet started in 2001, and has led it into a new era and helped ensure it has become a household name.


Since 2005, Dr Gledhill has been involved in the Pacific Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System and his international consultancy work has included projects in the Pacific and Asia. He has worked to improve the infrastructure and capacity of countries to mitigate the impacts of natural hazards such as earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunami.


Dr Gledhill is now leading a range of enhancements to GeoNet that will help ensure New Zealanders are better equipped with both real-time and long term information about geological hazards.

Early Career Science: Dr Maren Wellenreuther, Plant & Food Research
Dr Maren Wellenreuther is passionate about the potential of genomics to revolutionise the fishing industry, breed new species and rebuild fish stocks. She is leading New Zealand’s first native inshore fish breeding programme using genomic tools to identify the hardiness and growth potential in snapper. She believes this approach is the best chance to create a more productive and sustainable seafood industry.


Dr Wellenreuther was previously a senior lecturer in evolutionary ecology at Lund University, Sweden.

Team Award: Pacific Hydroclimate Team - Mark Crump, Stuart Escott, Marty Flanagan, Andrew Harper, Jeremy Rutherford, Barry Waugh, NIWA
NIWA’s Pacific Hydroclimate Team have transformed the monitoring and human capacity across some of the most climate-vulnerable developing countries in the world.


Their work has enabled data and information to be delivered to underpin preparedness and resilience to weather hazards, climate variability and change in almost every economic sector across the region.


The team is committed to transferring understanding and capability and displays continuous enthusiasm for working in the Pacific, despite the often remote and demanding locations.

Full list of winners:

Early Career Researchers

Dr Estelle Dominati – AgResearch

Dr Jo-Anne Bright - ESR

Dr Jerome Leveneur – GNS Science

Dr Nick Cradock-Henry – Manaaki Whenua

Dr Kim Goetz - NIWA

Dr Maren Wellenreuther – Plant & Food Research

Dr Nari Williams – Scion

Individual / Lifetime Achievement Award

Dr John McEwan – AgResearch

Dr Murray Close – ESR

Dr Ken Gledhill – GNS Science

John Innes – Manaaki Whenua

Dr Clive Howard-Williams – NIWA

Dr Susan Gardiner – Plant & Food Research

Dr David Cown – Scion

Team Award

AR37 Endophyte Team – AgResearch

Forensic Biology Team – ESR

NZ UNCLOS Team – GNS Science

TB Free Team – Manaaki Whenua

Pacific Hydroclimate Team – NIWA

Pollination & Apiculture Team – Plant & Food Research

Biosecurity Team – Scion

ENDS


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