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Science Awards Winners Announced as 11th Festival Launched

Science Awards Winners Announced as 11th Festival Launched

A world expert on frogs, who has dedicated more than 30 years at the forefront of amphibian conservation, was last night recognised for his lifelong commitment to science at an awards ceremony to launch the 11th biennial New Zealand International Science Festival.

Professor Phil Bishop, from the University of Otago’s Department of Zoology, took out the University of Otago Lifetime Achievement Award in the Otago Daily Times Science Awards – a joint initiative between the ODT and the New Zealand International Science Festival.

A childhood fascination with frogs inspired Professor Bishop to a career that has seen him lead international efforts to save the fledgling amphibian population as Co-Chair of the global International Union for the Conservation of Nature SSC Amphibian Specialist Group and Chief Scientist for the IUCN Amphibian Survival Alliance (ASA).

As Director of the Ecology Degree Programme at the University and a passionate teacher, he encourages students to perform independent research looking at the local population of frogs.

The winners of this year’s Awards are:
• The University of Otago – Lifetime Achievement – Phil Bishop, Department of Zoology, University of Otago (in recognition to dedication and achievement in the field of sciences)
• The Otago Polytechnic – Sustainability – Henrik Moller, Flip the Fleet
(in recognition of sustainable practices integrated into their work and practice)
• Otago Museum – Science Communicator – Damian Scarf, Department of Psychology, University of Otago (in recognition of excellence in communication in the sciences to a non-science crowd)
• Vodafone – Business – Kelvin Lloyd, Wildlands Consultants
(in recognition of an individual in business that is leading science and innovation)
• Mitre10 MEGA – Future Scientist – Liam Hewson, Kings High School
(in recognition of a Year 12 or Year 13 student who has undertaken an outstanding science, technology, mathematics or engineering project)
• ADInstruments – Emerging Scientist (tertiary level student) – Kaitlyn Martin, Centre for Science Communication, University of Otago (in recognition of an emerging scientist in the tertiary sector who is becoming established in their field)
• Science into Action – Science Teacher Award – Ian Phillips, Otago Girls High School (in recognition of a registered primary, intermediate or secondary school teacher who is teaching science, mathematics, technology in the New Zealand curriculum).

"We've been an avid sponsor and supporter of the NZ International Science Festival for over 20 years and are delighted to be involved as a major sponsor of the ODT Otago Science Awards,” says Otago Daily Times CEO Grant McKenzie.

“More importantly though, we are amazed at the capability and commitment of this year’s winners, and are pleased that we can help recognise their achievements with these awards.”
New Zealand International Science Festival Director Dan Hendra says acknowledging the region’s unsung science heroes captures the spirit of the Festival – a celebration of science from the everyday to the extraordinary.
“The winners of these Awards are people whose work ‘goes beyond’ – pushing boundaries and making an invaluable contribution to science in Otago.”

Last night’s awards ceremony followed a special sneak peek for launch guests of the University of Otago’s Science Expo (which officially opens today on the ground floor of the St David Complex at 10am) and a discussion by The Dunedin Study’s Professor Richie Poulton and Dr Helen Anderson.

This afternoon, Australian science show performer Dr Graham Walker will reveal a new live show exploring the science behind future energy technologies, burning and exploding his way through a series of awe-inspiring experiments.

The largest Festival to date – with more than 230 events at 24 locations around the city – the NZ International Science Festival will run until Sunday July 15. A full list of events can be found at


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