NewsPublished 21 November 2019
Researchers and scholars at the top of their fields elected as Fellows
Nineteen new Ngā Ahurei a Te Apārangi Fellows and Ngā Ahurei Honore a Te Apārangi 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 the following topics: improving human–machine interactions, moral philosophy, autobiographical memory, Pasifika poetry, cross-cultural psychology, Indigenous studies and the politics of polar regions. Also, paleobiology, seabed geology, tectonic and seismic hazards, pollen records, reintroduction biology, mathematical functional analysis, optical physics, stroke, maternal health, bone biology, end of life care and gout.
Being made a Fellow is an honour that recognises distinction in research, scholarship or the advancement of knowledge at the highest international standards. Fellows can use the post-nominal ‘FRSNZ’ after their name to indicate this honour.
Chair of the Academy Executive Committee Professor Richard Blaikie FRSNZ says it was pleasing to see new Fellows from a wide range of disciplines and backgrounds.
“The newly-elected Fellows have made amazing contributions to knowledge in their fields and across disciplinary boundaries. Their election adds significantly to the breadth and diversity of knowledge held within the Academy; they will help support the purpose of Te Apārangi to engage with and 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 new Fellows can be rightfully proud that their outstanding achievements have been recognised by their peers in this way.”
The new Fellows are:
Associate Professor Mark Sagar, CEO Soul Machines Ltd and Auckland Bioengineering Institute, University of Auckland
Professor Valery Feigin, Auckland University of Technology
Professor Caroline Crowther, Liggins Institute, University of Auckland
Professor Tim Mulgan, University of Auckland
Dr Philip Barnes, NIWA
Professor Elaine Reese, University of Otago
Associate Professor Selina Tusitala Marsh, University of Auckland
Professor Ronald Fischer, Victoria University of Wellington
Professor James Crampton, GNS Science and Victoria University of Wellington
Professor Jillian Cornish, University of Auckland
Professor Brendan Hokowhitu, University of Waikato
Dr Kelvin Berryman, GNS Science
Professor Merryn Gott, University of Auckland
Professor Rewi Newnham, Victoria University of Wellington
Professor Nicola Dalbeth, University of Auckland and Auckland District Health Board
Professor Philip Seddon, University of Otago
Professor Astrid an Huef, Victoria University of Wellington
Professor Anne-Marie Brady, University of Canterbury
The Society also announced the election of an Honorary Fellow. The election of Honorary Fellows aims to encourage strong ties with leading international scientists and scholars and New Zealand’s research community.
The new Honorary Fellow is:
Distinguished Professor John Dudley, University of Bourgogne-Franche Comté France and CNRS research institute FEMTO-ST.
Read more on the new Fellows:
Mark Sagar is a pioneer in the computational modelling of the face. His early work simulating facial appearance and movement received two scientific and technical Academy Awards. His later research has gone deeper under the skin, simulating facial musculature, behavioural circuits, and the motivating cognitive processes. Mark is re-imagining how people interact with technology, humanising it in appearance and in the way it processes information. By creating interactive models of human cognition and emotion, he aims to (1) give new insights into human nature, exploring how interconnected neural processing models give rise to intelligent and emotional behaviour; (2) build the foundation for future human-intelligent machine co-operation; and (3) democratise artificial intelligence by making it intuitive to use in a face-to-face manner by millions.
The research findings of Valery Feigin have had profound international impact, changing our understanding of stroke and traumatic brain injury prevention and epidemiology. His research has had significant implications for health care services, research planning and priority setting and significantly has resulted in changes in the World Health Organisation International Classification of Diseases 11th revision. His novel approach to primary stroke prevention through motivational population-wide intervention (Stroke Riskometer app) has received worldwide recognition. He was awarded the 2015 MacDiarmid Medal by Royal Society Te Apārangi in recognition of his work in this area.
Caroline Crowther is a maternal fetal medicine subspecialist recognised internationally for her landmark, large, multicentre clinical trials and translation of research findings into guidelines, practice and policy change, leading to improved maternal and perinatal health worldwide. Her work has changed care for women before preterm birth and for diabetes in pregnancy, and has led to substantially reduced death, disability and cerebral palsy in their newborn babies. Caroline has led significant development of evidence-based health care within New Zealand and Australia and beyond, including establishing the Australian and New Zealand Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Satellite and has been an advisor to the World Health Organisation on maternal and perinatal research priorities and care recommendations.
Tim Mulgan is a significant international scholar in moral philosophy and philosophy of religion. He is the author of five books and numerous journal articles and book chapters. He has made original contributions to discussions about the demands of morality, our obligations to future people, the moral significance of climate change, the purpose of the universe, and our place in the cosmos. Tim’s work has influenced other scholars in philosophy, and also in related disciplines including theology, development studies, environmental studies, political theory, institutional design and public health.
Philip Barnes is an internationally recognised marine scientist who uses geophysical and geological methods to unlock the secrets of the Earth beneath the seabed. Over the past three decades, his expansive research into New Zealand’s undersea environment has revolutionised our perspective of the fault lines and active tectonic processes that shape New Zealand and its surrounding seafloor. His insights underpin numerous discoveries regarding the dynamic nature of our tectonic plate boundary. His quantification of natural phenomena such as deformation of Earth’s crust, earthquake variability, fault movements and landslides continue to produce science of international and societal relevance, especially as active plate boundaries dominate the circum-Pacific rim (Ring of Fire) and pose significant geohazards.
Elaine Reese is a world-leading expert on autobiographical memory. She began her career with the ground-breaking discovery that the way in which mothers and young children talk about the past has long-lasting effects on a child’s memory development. Over the years, she has expanded her research to include studies with older children and adolescents, tracing the role of maternal reminiscing practices in the development of children’s narrative skill, self-concept, and wellbeing over significant periods of development. More recently, in work with Māori families, she has documented how cross-cultural differences in maternal reminiscing are reflected in children’s emerging life stories. Each discovery has set a new bar in the field of developmental psychology and has fostered new research in laboratories around the world.
Poet Laureate and scholar Selina Tusitala Marsh ONZM from the University of Auckland is renowned for her outstanding creative and scholarly contribution to Pacific literature and Pacific Literary Studies. A prolific author and award-winning poet, she has published widely. Her poetry has appeared on the Top 5 NZ Best Seller List and NZ Listener’s Best 100 Books, in Best New Zealand Poems, in the prestigious The Poetry Archive (UK), and on the renowned US Poetry Foundation website. The Commonwealth Poet for 2016, Marsh composed and performed a poem for Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey on behalf of the Commonwealth member states. She was appointed New Zealand Poet Laureate (2017-2019). A notable scholar and teacher, and hailing from the islands of Samoa and Tuvalu on her mother's side, Selina has produced a distinctive style of Pacific literary criticism, developed Pacific pedagogies for teaching literature, and mentors Māori and Pacific students. Selina was awarded the 2019 Humanities Aronui Medal by Royal Society Te Apārangi in recognition of her contribution.
Ronald Fischer is one of the leading cross-cultural psychologists in the world. His work is interdisciplinary, focussing on the interplay between cultures and individuals, and his pioneering work has led to major advances in the study of norms and values, and the evolutionary functions of ritual. He has won many prestigious awards and is a sought-after speaker. He has shown exceptional engagement and leadership through establishing large research networks, serving as associate editor on international journals, initiating international training PhD programmes, teaching at summer schools, serving on executive boards, and contributing to United Nations development programmes.
James Crampton is the leading authority on New Zealand Cretaceous paleobiology, biostratigraphy and paleo-environments. His research informs us about life before the last great extinction. He is internationally recognised for his diverse research including systematic paleontology; morphometrics; physical drivers of evolution; dynamics of diversity; macroecology; biogeography; and biostratigraphy. His work in leading international journals synthesises geological, ecological and macroevolutionary processes, and achieves an impressive level of quantitative and analytical rigour. In addition to his contributions to paleobiological theory, his innovative methodology and analytical techniques are becoming widely adopted. Through presentations, print, and display of fossils, he has increased public understanding and appreciation of New Zealand’s past life and environments. He was elected a Fellow of the US-based Paleontological Society in 2018.
Jillian Cornish is an international leader and educator in bone biology and its application to orthopaedic research. She has identified a series of key bone regulatory molecules, thus elucidating important pathways in normal bone biology such as the close relationship between fat cells and bone cells as well as providing bone growth factors for potential use in orthopaedics. This work has been recognised by research awards from the International Combined Orthopaedic Research Societies, the Faculty of Science of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia, the New Zealand Society of Endocrinology, the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research, and the Australia and New Zealand Bone and Mineral Society. Her current orthopaedic collaborations have the potential to alter clinical outcomes for patients with severe skeletal injuries and bone cancers.
Brendan Hokowhitu (Ngāti Pūkenga) is a pioneering Māori scholar who has helped define the globally nascent field of Indigenous Studies. His intellect, originality in thinking and depth of knowledge are demonstrated in his expansive publications creating the sub-fields of Indigenous Masculinities, and Indigenous Sport and Physical Education, and are significantly contributing to sub-fields of Indigenous Critical Theory, Indigenous Media, and Indigenous Wellbeing. He leads the Ageing Well National Science Challenge ‘Kaumātua Mana Motuhake’ project. Uniquely, he has become the Dean of two Indigenous Studies faculties in two different countries (Canada and New Zealand), which is a testament to his international peer recognition.
Kelvin Berryman QSO is one of the foremost pioneers and international experts in active tectonics and seismic hazard assessment. His research has increased fundamental understanding of the processes and hazards to society associated with plate boundary zones and he has communicated this knowledge to the public, government agency staff and elected officials. He has played a pivotal role in the response and recovery from the Canterbury earthquakes, bringing research knowledge to the fore in decision-making. He was awarded the Queen’s Service Order in 2012 for services to science and Canterbury earthquake recovery.
Merryn Gott is internationally recognised for the critical social science lens she brings to addressing what the World Health Organisation describes as “one of the most significant public health challenges of the 21st century”, namely the need to reduce suffering at the end of life. Her evidence has informed practice and policy in Aotearoa New Zealand, the UK, the United States and Canada, ultimately leading to positive impact for patients and whānau. Her work has also led to theoretical and methodological advances in palliative care research internationally. She directs the only bicultural palliative care research group internationally, recognised as world-leading for its equity focus.
Rewi Newnham (Ngāpuhi) is an outstanding researcher and educator in studying past and present environmental and climatic conditions and modern changes, primarily through analyses of pollen records (palynology). His wide-ranging work includes studies of New Zealand’s past climates and their controls and links to global climate change, using pollen analysis to determine human and volcanic impacts on the environment, and contemporary effects of pollen on human health. Rewi has achieved world-wide recognition and has contributed to or co-led international initiatives to determine New Zealand’s past climates, using these findings to answer globally-important questions about environmental change. He also draws on his roots in Ngāpuhi iwi to build links between science and mātauranga Māori and to help New Zealanders understand the factors that affect environmental change.
Nicola Dalbeth is a rheumatologist and professor of medicine who leads a research programme in gout, an arthritis of major relevance to Aotearoa New Zealand. Her work has identified novel mechanisms of disease and defined treatment approaches for gout. In addition, she has led international initiatives to define central concepts of gout, including nomenclature of disease, disease staging, and outcome measures. Her research in both pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments has been incorporated into international gout management guidelines.
Philip Seddon is an outstanding conservation biologist and founding member of the expanding field of Reintroduction Biology. His work improves the practice, scientific underpinnings and success of species translocations globally. He has key leadership roles within specialist groups of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. His publications, including key papers in flagship journals such as Nature Ecology & Evolution, Science, Conservation Biology, and Trends in Ecology and Evolution, have shaped international conservation policy.
Astrid an Huef is a highly regarded pure mathematician working in functional analysis, the type of analysis that deals with infinite-dimensional phenomena. Her focus ranges broadly from operator algebras associated with various dynamical systems, to operator algebras associated with combinatorial objects such as graphs and semigroups, and to purely algebraic analogues of the latter. The breadth, depth and quality of her research is illustrated by her international collaborations, peer esteem, the external funding she has received and the quality of the journals she publishes in.
The research of Anne-Marie Brady on Antarctic politics, China's polar interests, and the Chinese Communist Party's domestic and foreign policy, in particular, foreign interference activities, has been a catalyst contributing to policy adjustments by governments from the USA, to New Zealand, Australia, the UK, Canada, and the EU. Her research has been publicly praised by Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio. Her testimony on Antarctica and China is recorded in Hansard in the Australian Parliament, as well as in several reports on Antarctica prepared for the Australian government. Her policy advice helped spark an inquiry into foreign interference in the New Zealand parliament. Her research on small states in the changing global order has assisted New Zealand and other small state governments with contestable policy advice. She founded a groundbreaking journal of polar social sciences, which offers policy relevant research on the Arctic and Antarctic. In 2019, she was awarded the New Zealand Women of Influence Global Influence Award. She is the first female political scientist elected a Fellow of Royal Society Te Apārangi.
John Dudley has made sustained and exceptional contributions to science through pioneering research in optical physics and global science advocacy. After attending high school in Mangere, South Auckland, he received his PhD from the University of Auckland in 1992, where he subsequently lectured from 1993 to 2000. He then moved to France where he is now Distinguished Professor at the University of Burgundy-Franche-Comté and the CNRS research institute FEMTO-ST. He has made groundbreaking discoveries in the science of ultrafast lasers, nonlinear optics and extreme waves, with highly cited publications (many of which are co-authored with New Zealand researchers), and numerous international awards and distinctions. He is equally committed to education, and has initiated major science communication initiatives with the United Nations and UNESCO that have reached hundreds of millions worldwide.