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Centenary cohort of Fellows announced

1 November 2018

Twenty new Fellows and three Honorary Fellows have been elected to the Academy of the Royal Society Te Apārangi for their distinction in research and advancement of science, technology or the humanities. They are world leaders in topics that include, in the humanities, global justice and migration, public economics, sociocultural theory, intellectual property and constitutional law. In the sciences, topics include enzymes, ultrafast lasers, reproductive and eye health, genetic diseases, medical modelling and sensors, pest control, ecological networks and earthquakes. They will be inducted early next year, 100 years after the first 20 Fellows were inducted in 1919.

Being made a Fellow is an honour that recognises true international distinction in research, scholarship and the advancement of knowledge. Fellows can use the post-nominal ‘FRSNZ’ after their name to indicate this honour.

Chair of the Academy and Royal Society Te Apārangi Vice President Richard Blaikie says a two-day event is planned for 14-15 February next year to celebrate the centenary. There will be a Fellows’ Admission Day at Royal Society Te Apārangi in Wellington, which will include a chance for the new Fellows to present their research to the public, followed by a celebratory dinner. The following day the Society will hold a symposium with the theme ‘Multiple forms of research excellence’.

“The diverse backgrounds and multiple areas of expertise of the newly-elected Fellows adds to the breadth of knowledge held collectively by the Academy, which supports the wider work the Society does to inform New Zealanders on matters of public importance.”

“On behalf of the Academy and Society, I heartily congratulate all the new Fellows. The election process is rigorous and being elected recognises truly stellar achievements in uncovering new knowledge and innovative scholarship.”

The new Fellows are:

Professor Angus Macfarlane, University of Canterbury

Professor Carolyn (Kim) King, University of Waikato

Professor Cather Simpson, University of Auckland

Professor Charles McGhee, University of Auckland

Professor Cynthia Farquhar, University of Auckland

Professor David Bryant, University of Otago

Professor David Williams, University of Auckland

Professor Emily Parker, Victoria University of Wellington

Professor Gillian Brock, University of Auckland

Professor Jason Tylianakis, University of Canterbury

Professor John Creedy, Victoria University of Wellington

Professor John Gibson, University of Waikato

Dr Laura Wallace, GNS Science

Professor Linda Nikora, University of Auckland

Professor Margaret Hyland, Victoria University of Wellington

Professor Merryn Tawhai, University of Auckland

Professor Robyn Longhurst, University of Waikato

Professor Simon Malpas, University of Auckland

Professor Stephen Robertson, University of Otago

Professor Susy Frankel, Victoria University of Wellington

The Society also announced the election of three Honorary Fellows. The election of Honorary Fellows aims to encourage strong ties with leading international scientists and scholars and New Zealand’s research community.

Professor Thomas Higham, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

Professor Ichiro Kawachi, Harvard University, USA

Distinguished Professor Warrick Couch, Swinburne University of Technology, Australia

Read more on the new Fellows:

Professor Margaret Hyland is a world authority in surface chemistry, engineering and processes. Vice-Provost (Research) at Victoria University of Wellington, her expertise includes surface properties, structures of materials, industrial reactions involving pollutant gases and materials degradation. In addition to her strong academic standing, her work has had substantial global impact through application to aluminium smelting and other industrial processing. She was awarded the Royal Society Te Apārangi’s Pickering Medal in 2015 for her pioneering work to reduce fluoride emissions from the aluminium industry.

Professor Gillian Brock is one of the most significant scholars currently working in the field of global justice. Professor of Philosophy at the University of Auckland, her scholarship spans ethics, political and social philosophy, several applied ethics fields and various interdisciplinary areas including those at the intersection of philosophy and public policy. She was a recent Fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, and joint winner of the Amartya Sen Prize from Yale University. A prolific author, Professor Brock’s work regularly appears in top-tier international academic journals and her books are published by leading academic presses. She holds numerous editorial positions for esteemed philosophy and multidisciplinary journals, and serves on several prominent international committees.

Professor Jason Tylianakis has achieved a steep trajectory across many measures of research excellence in the area of how environmental changes affect interactions between species and their contribution to ecosystem functioning. A Professor in Terrestrial Ecology at the University of Canterbury, he uses field data and the latest statistical methods to build up large networks to describe the interactions between species. These networks can identify which species are most vulnerable to extinction, based on their location in the network, and this knowledge can be applied in reverse to understand how ecosystems develop and recover. Professor Tylianakis’ achievements have been recognised through research awards and he was one of ten inaugural Rutherford Discovery Fellows, awarded by Royal Society Te Apārangi. He has also served the scientific community through many national and international roles and attracted and mentored many students.

Professor Carolyn “Kim” King is a specialist in animal ecology, particularly of small rodents and mustelids. Adjunct Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Waikato, her research covers the areas of ecology, behaviour and genetics and her impact includes contributions to conservation, including work on improved methods of monitoring and control of rodents and mustelids. A pest management pioneer, the British Mammal Society awarded her their highest honour, the Mammal Society Medal, for her important work on mustelids and their predatory impacts on native species, combining fundamental and applied research. In addition to her research combining the latest technologies with extensive field observations and sampling, she is a committed science communicator, evidenced by her own writing and editorship of the Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand (1983-2001) and New Zealand Journal of Zoology (1991-2009, plus Senior Editor 2010-2015).

Enzymes are the catalysts that make life possible. Professor Emily Parker has made a sustained contribution to the understanding of enzyme function at the molecular and organism level. This new knowledge has been applied to the design and synthesis of enzyme inhibitors as potential drugs, especially antibiotics. It has also led to the use of enzymes as tools in the manufacture of valuable bioactive compounds. Based at the Ferrier Research Institute at Victoria University of Wellington, her research has been published extensively in high quality scientific journals and she has been a regular invited speaker at international symposia. She has contributed to the next generation of scientists through her post-graduate teaching and has served with distinction in leadership roles in national and trans-Tasman scientific organisations.

Professor Simon Malpas is principal investigator of the Implantable Devices Group at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute at the University of Auckland. His group is at the forefront of the development of the next generation of medical devices utilising IP in the areas of wireless power, communication and sensing of pressure. His initial fundamental research in the area of cardiovascular control led him to develop technology to address basic science questions around how the brain controls blood pressure. This led to medical devices for monitoring brain pressure after trauma and power transfer through the skin for fully implantable heart pumps. Three spinout companies created by him have generated more than $22m of export revenue to date. Royal Society Te Apārangi awarded him the Pickering Medal in 2014 for the development and commercialisation of implantable wireless sensors that monitor physiological processes in the body.

Professor Linda Waimarie Nikora is an outstanding Māori scholar and leader whose research has been positively transformative for Māori and for the discipline of psychology. With colleagues, she has led important research investigations into Māori health, development, culture change and resilience, death, Indigenous psychology, Māori sexuality, and media representations. She has written five books including her co-authored award-winning book Mau Moko: The World of Māori Tattoo, and numerous research articles. Her research into the development of a kaupapa Maori curriculum fundamentally changed ways of working, researching, and training for indigenous psychologists worldwide, and she has grown a new generation of Māori psychologists. Actively involved in the life of her iwi, Professor Nikora contributed fundamental research instrumental to the return of Te Urewera National Park to Tuhoe.

Dr Laura Wallace is a globally-recognised scientist who uses land surveying (geodetic), seismological and geological information to understand complex large-scale tectonic processes occurring at plate boundary zones. Soon after her arrival in New Zealand she discovered the first slow slip event at New Zealand’s Hikurangi subduction zone, and since then she has made these benign events and their relationship to catastrophic earthquakes central to her research. A geophysicist at GNS Science, Dr Wallace has provided outstanding intellectual leadership in the study of plate boundary processes, including galvanising a large international group of scientists and raising funds to support multinational research into the Hikurangi subduction zone, which may be one of the greatest natural hazards faced by New Zealand. Her research and leadership have placed New Zealand at the forefront worldwide of studies on plate boundary processes and hazards.

Professor John Gibson is an outstanding economist who has made significant contributions to knowledge around migration, particularly from the Pacific, and about survey-based measurement of living standards. He has led the Pacific Island-New Zealand Migration Study (PINZMS) for over a decade to measure impacts of skilled, seasonal, and random ballot-based migration from the Pacific. His scholarship is recognised at the highest levels including the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He has received prestigious national awards and is ranked in the top 0.4% of economists worldwide. He has made major contributions to public policy especially in the area of Pacific-New Zealand migration policies. His work has spread beyond the Pacific and has become the new norm for design, measurement, and analysis. He has supervised a large number of successful PhD students who have become outstanding researchers in their own right.

Professor Susy Frankel is an international research leader and preeminent New Zealand-based scholar in international intellectual property law and its links with international trade, as well as the protection of Indigenous peoples' knowledge. She is Chair in Intellectual Property and International Trade at the School of Law at Victoria University of Wellington. She was president (2015-2017) of the global intellectual property researchers’ association, ATRIP, and has been a visiting professor at leading universities including New York University and the University of Strasbourg. Her standing is confirmed by scholarly citations of her work and the many invitations to speak at events internationally. Professor Frankel’s scholarship has influenced the development of New Zealand’s intellectual property law and the interpretation of international agreements in the formation of domestic policy. Also, she is at the forefront of law working with other disciplines.

Professor John Creedy has had—and continues to have—a remarkable and influential academic career covering public economics, labour economics, income distribution and the history of economic analysis. He has consistently aimed to address substantive and topical issues relevant to current public policy, both in New Zealand and overseas. A Professor in the School of Accounting and Commercial Law at Victoria University of Wellington, Professor Creedy has made a vital contribution to New Zealand through his work at Treasury and his research on important ‘real world’ policy issues, including superannuation, welfare and tax. He is one of this country’s most respected and prolific academic economists, and has an outstanding record of collaboration and mentorship of younger scholars. Professor Creedy’s innovative research has made a significant impact here and internationally in the field of public economics.

Professor Cather Simpson is internationally renowned for her contributions to fundamental new knowledge about how light interacts with matter. A Professor of Physics and Chemistry at the University of Auckland, her research has achieved seminal insight into multi-disciplinary areas ranging from ultrafast dynamics of heme proteins, laser-generated force on sperm, and laser beam-shaping to transform materials at the microscale. She also applies that research to address important practical challenges, and thereby generates transformative impact through both. Since 2012, she has delivered 11 plenary and keynote lectures and garnered $23.9m in external research funding as principal investigator. She is founding inventor in two science startup companies, including Silicon Valley award-winner Engender. In 2016, she was Kiwinet’s Baldwins Researcher Entrepreneur and BNZ Supreme winner, and a Ministry of Primary Industries Champion. Stellar outreach and teaching, including a National Teaching Excellence award, complement her exceptional research strengths.

Professor Cynthia Farquhar’s objective is to provide evidence to improve women’s health. Postgraduate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Auckland and a consultant clinician with the Auckland District Health Board, she has initiated and led many clinical trials and Cochrane systematic reviews in the field of gynaecology and fertility. In 2005 she established, with others, the New Zealand Perinatal and Maternal Mortality Committee, which has driven policy changes in this area, and she was the inaugural Chair until 2013. She has been invited to present to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (2015), the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (2015) and the Reproductive Medicine Network (NICHD, NIH) (2016). From 2014 to 2018 Professor Farquhar has been Co-chair of Cochrane’s global Governing Board. In 2014 she became a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to women’s health and received the 2018 Liley Medal from the Health Research Council of New Zealand for her research into the fertility treatment intrauterine insemination.

Professor Robyn Longhurst’s highly original scholarship on gender, space and ‘the body’ has transformed the way that human geographers and other social scientists understand people-place relationships since the mid 1990s. The concept of embodiment is now seen as integral to feminist research, as well as to all research on space and place. Professor in Geography and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic at the University of Waikato, she was elected Chair of the Gender and Geography Commission of the International Geographical Union and was awarded the Distinguished New Zealand Geographer Medal in recognition of her sustained intellectual and institutional contributions to international and New Zealand feminist geography. She has consistently challenged the canons of mainstream geography and published five insightful books that provided distinctive interventions in international research and scholarship and made visible the ways in which knowledge is produced. In 2018 she received the award of Lauréat d’honneur from the International Geographical Union for her contributions to gender, social and cultural geography.

Professor Stephen Robertson is a gifted clinician-scientist who has built an outstanding scientific track record in studying the genetic determinants of congenital malformations, particularly in children. He is the Curekids Professor of Paediatic Genetics at the University of Otago. He has a particular research interest in a group of disorders called the filaminopathies, which are caused by mutations in a family of genes encoding for proteins called filamins. Somewhat unexpectedly, it was found that a mutation in one of the filamin genes causes both disorders of brain development and bone development. Insights gained from these disorders have filled gaps in understanding how bone develops in response to chemical and mechanical forces, and in parallel how stem cells in the brain produce neurons that build the human cerebral cortex. Professor Robertson publishes regularly in top scientific journals, is involved in leadership of multiple national and international research consortia and related academic roles and is a passionate communicator about the potential benefits of widespread genetic testing. He received the Liley Medal from the Health Research Council in 2010 for his research excellence.

Professor David Williams is recognised nationally and internationally for his originality of thinking in the areas of constitutional law, colonial legal history and the Treaty of Waitangi. Holding a personal chair as a Professor of Law at the University of Auckland, he has combined his expertise in history and law to produce ground-breaking studies which have challenged previous conventional wisdom, recast the body of knowledge on Treaty of Waitangi jurisprudence, had a direct influence on public and official understanding of Treaty issues, and influenced Waitangi Tribunal and Supreme Court outcomes. Professor Williams enjoys strong links with scholars of law and Indigenous rights in colonial settings internationally, and is sought after for international collaborations. In 2017, he was elected Honorary Fellow of the American Society for Legal History – the first New Zealander to be so honoured.

Professor Charles McGhee is a corneal and cataract surgeon. As Maurice Paykel Professor of Ophthalmology and Head of Department at University of Auckland, he has grown the ophthalmology group from five to more than sixty staff and doctoral students, spanning clinical and laboratory eye research. He is also founding Director of the New Zealand National Eye Centre, bringing together more than 120 ophthalmologists, optometrists and visual scientists in an internationally-recognised centre. A clinician-scientist with interests in corneal diseases and transplantation, Professor McGhee has published 315 peer-reviewed papers, three textbooks, supervised 71 fellows (29 doctoral), and generated $21.5 million in personal research funding. He has been key to developing a new generation of New Zealand ophthalmic clinicians and visual scientists and several streams of ophthalmic research. He is widely recognised internationally in senior scientific and leadership roles.

Research by Professor Angus Hikairo Macfarlane (Te Arawa) has had a transformative impact on sociocultural theory and research practice in the context of educational challenges experienced by Māori. His attention toward theorising issues from within both Māori and Western epistemologies has empowered Māori and non-Māori to frame research questions and select methodologies and data-gathering procedures that “make sense” to Māori whānau and educators and enable Māori to define the criteria for successful research outcomes. Professor of Māori Research and Director of the Māori Research Laboratory Te Rū Rangahau at the University of Canterbury, Professor Macfarlane’s deliberate bicultural approach to research is best exemplified in his seminal models, the ‘Educultural Wheel’, used extensively in schools in New Zealand, and his ‘He Awa Whiria’ framework that was adopted as a model of best practice by Superu for its research on whānau and families.

Professor Merryn Tawhai is at the international fore of computational physiology of the respiratory system. Her work is unique for its potential to address significant gaps in current clinical tools for diagnosis of lung disease and testing interventional strategies before patient treatment. A Professor and Deputy Director of the Auckland Bioengineering Institute and the University of Auckland and Director of the MedTech CoRE, the quality and potential impact of her work has been recognised through being awarded the 2016 MacDiarmid Medal by Royal Society Te Apārangi and her international reputation by election in 2018 as a Fellow of both the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering and International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering. She has also been appointed to key journal editorial boards, and is the recipient of research funding from many sources.

Professor David Bryant is a world leader in the development of mathematical tools for inferring evolutionary relationships among biological organisms. He has made significant theoretical and practical contributions to phylogenetics — the field of biology studying the reconstruction of evolutionary history. A Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Otago, his research has been highly cited and applied to a diverse range of different areas, including early bacterial evolution, plant ecology, rapid identification of pathogens and even the origins of the "Little Red Ridinghood" fairy tale! His current projects range from population genetics to pure mathematics to the development of agritech sensors. He was joint winner of the 2016 New Zealand Mathematics Society Research Award.

HONORARY FELLOWS

Professor Thomas Higham is the Director of the world’s leading AMS radiocarbon dating laboratory at the University of Oxford. An international archaeological scientist with New Zealand roots, his status was recognised recently by the University of Waikato’s Distinguished Alumnus award. His continuing interest in pre-European New Zealand is seen in his innovative dating of initial Polynesian colonisation, and his acclaimed lectures for the Allan Wilson Centre in 2016. Professor Higham’s principal research focusses currently on the Eurasian expansion of Anatomically Modern Humans (AMH) from Africa, a broad topic encompassing big archaeological questions. Of this, a 2012 edition of Nature commented that, “by revamping radiocarbon dating, Tom Higham is painting a new picture of humans' arrival in Europe.” Professor Higham’s many publications in top journals, and extensive citation of them, have secured his reputation as a scholar of international eminence.

Professor Ichiro Kawachi is a world-leading epidemiologist studying the determinants of population health, helping to develop the field of social epidemiology; including social capital and neighbourhood impacts; cardiovascular epidemiology; and behavioural economics and public health. He has received many international awards and his productivity and influence is outstanding, having published over 800 articles, reviews and book chapters and 11 books. Since completing his medical degree and doctorate in New Zealand, he has had continuing contact with many former colleagues, with whom he has maintained research collaborations, as well as hosting their graduate students at Harvard. He has been an outstanding contributor to the University of Otago Wellington Summer School over a twenty-year period.

Professor Warrick Couch is a New Zealand citizen with a highly distinguished international reputation for his research in astronomy and astrophysics, especially galaxy evolution and cosmology. He has made outstanding contributions to the measurement of galaxy evolution and identification of the physical mechanisms that drive it. Based at Australia’s Swinburne University of Technology, he initiated international efforts to detect supernovae at cosmological distances (critical to the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics for leaders of subsequent projects). He has served as Director of the Australian Astronomical Observatory and President of the Australian Institute of Physics, and has won numerous awards, including the 2007 Gruber Prize in Cosmology (jointly) for discovery of the accelerating universe, the Breakthrough Science Prize in Fundamental Physics for 2015 (jointly), and the Astronomical Society of Australia’s 2017 Ellery Lectureship for outstanding contributions in astronomy.

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