The 2011 Research Honours Dinner was held in the Wellington Foyer, Te Papa, Wellington on Wednesday 16 November 2011.
Top New Zealand researchers were recognised for their work with the presentation of prestigious awards at the 2011 New Zealand Research Honours event held in Wellington on 16 November 2011.
The country’s highest science and technology honour, the Rutherford Medal, was awarded to biochemist Professor Christine Winterbourn FRSNZ from the University of Otago, Christchurch, for her outstanding achievements and discoveries in free radical biology which have established her as a leading world authority in this field. Together with the medal awarded by the Royal Society of New Zealand, she also received $100,000 from the Government. Professor Winterbourn is the first woman to be awarded the prestigious Rutherford Medal in its 20 year history.
The top award for achievement in technology, the Pickering Medal and $15,000, was awarded to Professor David Ryan FRSNZ, Professor of Operations Research and Deputy Dean of Engineering, at The University of Auckland for developing technology which is at the heart of optimisation software used worldwide for solving complex logistics problems, such as airline scheduling.
The Thomson Medal and $15,000 was awarded to Mr Neville Jordan CNZM, for his outstanding contribution to leadership in the management of science leading to the development and application of science and technology to wealth generation through his management of MAS Technology Ltd, Endeavour Capital Ltd and his role as a director of numerous spin-out companies he has supported through the latter.
The inaugural Callaghan Medal for outstanding contribution to science communication was awarded to Professor Sir Peter Gluckman FRS FRSNZ, Chief Science Advisor to the Prime Minister for his achievement in science communication, in particular raising public awareness of the value of science to human progress.
The inaugural MacDiarmid Medal for outstanding scientific research that demonstrates the potential for application to human benefit, was awarded to Dr Gary Evans of Industrial Research Limited who has pioneered the design and synthesis of new pharmaceuticals for the treatment of major diseases including gout, psoriasis and cancer of the immune system.
The Hutton Medal for animal sciences was awarded to Professor Robert Poulin FRSNZ from the University of Otago for his leading research in the field of parasitic diseases, especially for his work in ecological parasitology, an area of particular relevance to New Zealand’s marine and freshwater ecosystems.
The Hector Medal for mathematical and information sciences was awarded to Professor Rod Downey FRSNZ from Victoria University of Wellington for his influential and innovative work in mathematical logic.
The Te Rangi Hiroa Medal was awarded to Professor Colleen Ward from Victoria University of Wellington for her outstanding contributions to the advancement of the psychological study of immigration, acculturation, intercultural relations and cultural diversity.
The inaugural Humanities Aronui Medal was awarded to Professor Jim Flynn FRSNZ from the University of Otago for his outstanding work in political philosophy, in particular his discovery of historical gains in IQ, now known as the ‘Flynn Effect’.
All these medals are awarded by the Royal Society of New Zealand. There were also several other science awards made at the Research Honours celebration event – these were the Liley Medal, Jubilee Medal, Easterfield Medal, NZMS Research Award and Dan Walls Medal.
A key role of the Royal Society of New Zealand is to promote and support excellence in science, technology and the humanities.
For further details of the individual medals and awardees, visit here