The Prime Minister’s Science Prizes, which combine recognition and prize money of $1 million, have been presented in Wellington today.
The PM’s Science Prize recognises a transformative science discovery or achievement which has led to an economic, health, social and/or environmental impact on New Zealand, or internationally.
This year the prize, worth $500,000, has been awarded to Professors Paul Moughan and Harjinder Singh from Massey University whose world-leading and original research has made an outstanding contribution to the understanding of food protein science.
Additional prizes recognising were also warded at the ceremony. In addition to a monetary award, recipients of Prime Minister’s Science prizes receive an award-winning trophy that was created by Industrial Research Limited and is based on the Möbius Strip.
The Prime Minister’s 2012 Science Media Communication Prize has been presented to Shaun Hendy, a Professor of Computational Physics at Victoria University, Deputy Director of the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology, and an Industry and Outreach Fellow for Industrial Research Limited. Professor Hendy is at the forefront of research and thinking on the links between innovation and economic prosperity and regularly appears in the media discussing these topics as well as writing about them on his Measure of Science blog on the Sciblogs.co.nz platform. Professor Hendy receives $50,000 with another $50,000 allocated for further developing his science media communication skills.
The Prime Minister’s 2012 MacDiarmid Emerging Scientist Prize goes to Dr James Russell, a University of Auckland researcher who is internationally recognised for his conservation work. Dr Russell receives $200,000 in total, with $150,000 of the money to be used for further research.
The Prime Minister’s 2012 Science Teacher Prize has been presented to Peter Stewart, Head of Chemistry at Papatoetoe High School, a decile three South Auckland school where English is commonly a second language. Mr Stewart receives $50,000 and Papatoetoe High School receives $100,000.
The Prime Minister’s 2012 Future Scientist Prize goes to Hannah Ng, a 17-year-old student at St Cuthbert’s College in Auckland, whose research into childhood myopia, or shortsightedness, has given university researchers a novel theory that may provide solutions to the global eye problem. Hannah wins a scholarship worth $50,000 to help pay for her tertiary studies.
Media coverage of the awards so far includes:
Manawatu Standard: $500K for Massey food scientists || Radio NZ: Science prizes awarded
Stuff.co.nz: Food researchers scoop science awards || Auckland Now: DNA tests show how far rats swim
TVNZ News: Food researchers win top science awards || NZ Herald: Scientists win prize for research