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SMC: Antarctic ice sheets, youth offending

New Chief Science Advisor
Professor Juliet Gerrard will replace Sir Peter Gluckman as the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor on July 1, it was announced this week.
MacDiarmid Institute
A biochemist, Prof Gerrard is the Associate Dean of Research at the University of Auckland and previously served as chair of the Marsden Fund Council.
She will succeed Sir Peter Gluckman, who has held the role since it was established in 2009 and tackled everything from asbestosto climate change and youth suicide.

Dr Andrew Cleland, Chief Executive of Royal Society Te Apārangi told the SMC: “As the recent response from the Government to Sir Peter Gluckman’s methamphetamine contamination report shows, the role of Chief Science Advisor is a critical one for New Zealand to ensure that policy is backed by evidence.”
In the press conference, Prof Gerrard acknowledged her predecessor and said: “he and I look very different and sound very different, and we’re going to have very different approaches to this role. But we absolutely share a common way of thinking and a belief that… careful assessment of scientific evidence informs good decisions.”

The Science Media Centre sourced comment from New Zealand and overseas on the appointment.

Dr Mona Nemer, Chief Science Advisor of Canada, said Prof Gerrard was an inspiring scientist and role model: "It is truly wonderful to see more women scientists in this important role."

Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK government, Dr Patrick Vallance, congratulated Prof Gerrard and said: "I am looking forward to building on the excellent relationship that already exists between the UK and New Zealand's science advice mechanisms."

Quoted: RNZ
"I hope my appointment will go some way towards encouraging ambition in young female scientists... for a long time women were quietly advised to choose between a science career or children and that's no longer true."
Professor Juliet Gerrard
on taking on the role of the PM's chief science advisor.


Antarctica's 25-yr meltdown
A huge analysis from an international research team has found Antarctica is losing ice at a much faster rate than previously realised.
Ian Joughin, University of Washington

The research, published in Nature, shows warm oceans have driven a tripling of ice-loss in Western Antarctica between 1992 and 2017, the researchers found.

Known as the Ice sheet Mass Balance Inter-comparison Exercise (IMBIE) team, the group used 24 different satellite-based estimates to pull together this huge analysis on what impact warming is having on the coldest continent.

The Antarctic ice sheet lost about 3 trillion tonnes of ice between 1992 and 2017, which corresponds to a sea-level rise of around 8 millimetres.

This meant the window for taking climate action was rapidly closing, according to Professor Tim Naish from the Antarctic Research Centre at Victoria University, who contributed to the research.

Policy news & developments

Funding to fight M. bovis: Government commits $30 million over two years for scientific research to support the fight against cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis.

Meth report terms: Phil Twyford released the terms of reference for Housing NZ’s comprehensive report into its meth contamination response.

Forestry scholarship: New scholarship for Māori or female students studying forestry at the University of Canterbury launched at Fieldays. Anumber of primary sector scholarshgi

Addiction beds: Auckland City Mission will be getting 10 more beds in its addiction treatment facility in Auckland - it currently has 20.

Primary industry report: MPI's latest review on how well New Zealand's primary industries are going was release at Fieldays this week.

Earthquake lesson symposium: On November 29-30, Christchurch will hold a two-day symposium on the lessons learned from the Canterbury earthquakes, with a plan for it to lead into a bigger international event marking the 10th anniversary of the quakes in 2021.

MRINZ funding: The Medical Research Institute of New Zealand (MRINZ) has been granted more than $1.7 million in funding for the next three years.

Nature index: GNS Science ranked 8th corporate institution in the world for its publication output across all science disciplines in the 2018 Nature Index.

Preventing youth crime
The latest report to come from the Chief Science Advisor's office has made the case for a developmental crime prevention model to tackle youth offending.


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