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Published 6 October 2023

Society is national representative for Frontiers Planet Prize in Aotearoa New Zealand

Royal Society Te Apārangi has partnered with the Frontiers Research Foundation, based in Switzerland, as part of an international effort to accelerate scientific solutions to planetary challenges. 

In 2022, the Foundation established the Frontiers Planet Prize, with the aim to mobilise scientists to address the ongoing global environmental crisis.

Royal Society Te Apārangi will be the National Representative Body for the Frontiers Planet Prize in Aotearoa New Zealand. 

The prize is based on the nine planetary boundaries detailed by Professor Johan Rockström and described in the book Breaking Boundaries.

Our Academy of Fellows will select up to three scientists from those nominated by research institutions that have registered as National Nominating Bodies.

One national champion will be selected by the international Frontiers Prize jury. They will have the opportunity, along with representatives of other nations, to present and discuss their research on the international stage, and to engage in transdisciplinary collaboration with other leaders in this field. 

The jury will then select three International Champions, each receiving $1 million Swiss francs (about $1.8 million NZD) to facilitate and accelerate the research and development of the winning research.

The international jury includes one academic from New Zealand: Professor Bronwyn Hayward FRSNZ from the University of Canterbury.

Royal Society Te Apārangi Chief Executive Paul Atkins says this is a valuable opportunity for researchers and encourages institutions to participate by registering as a National Nominating Body.

"Each registered institution can nominate up to three scientists to compete to be one of the three from New Zealand who will be considered by the international Frontiers Prize jury."

"Scientists from all disciplines are eligible, as long as their articles were accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal between 1 November 2021 and 31 October 2023."

Paul adds that the timeframe for registration is very tight: once registered, you will need to submit your nominations to the Society by 1 November 2023. (Extended to 8 November 2023!)

Each nominated scientist must have published an article that has the potential to reduce or reverse the current imbalances in human interactions with planetary systems such as climate, freshwater, and oceans. 

Their research must also have the potential to generate breakthroughs that could be scaled up as solutions to global environmental challenges.  

Last year, one of the Frontiers Prizes joint-winner was Dr Paul Behrens, a physicist and writer who completed his PhD at the University of Auckland and worked for a time at Royal Society Te Apārangi. He is now an Associate Professor of Environmental Change at Leiden University in the Netherlands.

His winning article: ‘Dietary change in high-income nations alone can lead to substantial double climate dividend’ was published in Nature Food in 2022.

Paul and his team modelled the effects of shifting consumption from animal products to plant-based food in high-income countries. They showed that it would make a significant contribution towards stabilising our planet’s ecosystems.

The Society’s Academy Executive Committee (or its nominees) will select the three national winners from the pool of nominations by 1 December 2023. The Society will then submit them to the international Frontiers Prize jury for consideration.

Please contact marc.rands@royalsociety.org.nz with any further questions or to submit nominations.


Source: Royal Society Te Apārangi