Kia ora from Royal Society Te Apārangi | Issue #1134

Announcing the 2020 Prime Minister's Science Prize winners

The 2020 Prime Minister's Science Prizes were awarded on Tuesday evening in Te Whanganui-a-Tara.

The Future Scientist Prize was awarded to James Zingel for his project that used a classical computer and quantum computer to see which is superior in analysing the data and determining the type of breast cancer present.

The Science Communication Prize was presented to the University of Otago's Professor Michael Baker MNZM, for his contribution to increasing widespread public awareness of a wide range of public health issues and for his expert commentary on COVID-19.

The Science Teacher Prize winner is Sarah Washbrooke, a specialist technology teacher at Remarkables Primary School in Queenstown, for her integrated approach to learning, which involves incorporating ‘real world’ technology projects.

The MacDiarmid Emerging Scientist Prize has gone to Dr Christopher Cornwall from Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington, whose research focuses on the impacts of ocean acidification on marine organisms, including seaweeds and various calcifying algae and corals.

The Prime Minister's Science Prize was awarded to Te Pūnaha Matatini led by Professor Shaun Hendy FRSNZ MNZM, a multidisciplinary Centre of Research Excellence, whose research helped inform the Government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
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Speaker's Science Forum at parliament last week

Last Wednesday evening, we held the second of this year’s Speaker’s Science Forum events in the Banquet Hall at parliament. Our theme was Opportunities for Regenerative Tourism in Aotearoa New Zealand and we had two excellent presenters speaking to Members of Parliament. 

Professor James Higham from the University of Otago–Te Whare Wānanga o Ōtākou spoke on our need to radically rethink the role of tourism in our natural environment, society and economy in order to address its obvious liabilities.

Associate Professor Christian Schott from Victoria University of Wellington–Te Herenga Waka described where we are, currently, on our path towards socially, culturally and environmentally sustainable tourism and showed that it is not a huge leap for Aotearoa to make the transition to a regenerative approach.

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Taonga: Ngā Kete Mātauranga

"I developed an interest in the natural world and how we as a Māori whānau connected with it."

Dr Jane Kitson (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Māmoe, Waitaha) is an ecologist, environmental scientist and the director of a consultancy based in Invercargill. She has worked in a range of research fields including traditional ecological knowledge, coastal and freshwater environmental science, and the implementation of cultural monitoring tools to empower whānau.

Learn more >

He pitopito kōrero News bulletin

Research identifies new cultural threads in goldfield early settlers
New research suggests some assumptions about the cultural make-up of early settler New Zealand are inaccurate.
New report shows impact of demands on land in New Zealand
A new environmental report released today by the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ, presents new data on New Zealand’s land cover, soil quality, and land fragmentation.
Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ
NZ’s greenhouse gas emissions drastically rise and fall - Expert Reaction
The latest greenhouse gas inventory shows that in 2019 emissions rose by 2 per cent on the previous year. 
@Science Media Centre
Artificial ‘brain’ reveals why we can’t always believe our eyes
A computer network closely modelled on part of the human brain is enabling new insights into the way our brains process moving images - and explains some perplexing optical illusions.
@University of Cambridge
Study unearthing clues to New Zealand's past seismic events
Scientists have started digging into a beach on the southern coast of the North Island, searching for clues about earthquakes and tsunamis that have occurred in the past.
Harry Lock @RNZ 

Ngā take o te wā Events

17 April, Wellington
Stars for all - a Global Astronomy Month star party
Head down to the Wellington Waterfront for the chance to look through telescopes and see close-ups of the Moon and other night sky objects. This event will celebrate Global Astronomy Month, with the theme "One People, One Sky" as boundaries vanish when the world looks skyward.
19 May, Christchurch & online
Building a better brain with nutrition
In this upcoming University of Canterbury Connect public lecture, Professor Julia Rucklidge, a world-leading scientist, will share her knowledge of how nutrition can help overcome stress, ADHD, and depression.

Ngā whiwhinga Opportunities

Final call to apply for MBIE's Science Whitinga Fellowship

Applications for the MBIE Science Whitinga Fellowship close next week. This fellowship aims to support excellent early-career researchers who may otherwise be lost from the system due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their career path. The fellowship supports research in any field, including the humanities, mātauranga and social science at an eligible New Zealand research institution. 

Roadshow for MBIE Science Whitinga Fellowship
A recorded roadshow and information on virtual FAQ sessions for the MBIE Science Whitinga Fellowship is available.

Closing date: 20 April at 5pm (NZST)
Organisation: Royal Society Te Apārangi and MBIE
Participate in online survey for the development of a global science agenda on risk

The International Science Council, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, and the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk programme are launching a survey to support the development of a global agenda for risk science, that is shaped by multiple perspectives, to guide international research, scientific collaboration and funding to strengthen the impact of science on risk management and risk reduction.

Closing date: 5 May 
Organisation: International Science Council 
Take part in the 10th biennial TataurangaKiTeKura/CensusAtSchool 

Teachers can now register for this biennial online census, which collects real, relevant student (Years 3-13) data as part of an international project, and to provide support for teaching statistics in New Zealand.

Teaching resources include workshops, presentations, classroom activities, research papers, interactive data analysis tools, real student data sets, and essential statistics website links. 

Launch date: 10 May
Organisation: CensusAtSchool

Call for proposals from young researchers in sustainability

Are you a promising scientist whose research has the potential to help make the world a more sustainable place? Apply to become one of the 25 Green Talents of 2021!

The Green Talents Competition honours young researchers for their achievements and efforts towards making their communities, countries and societies more sustainable. Selected by a jury of German experts, the award winners are granted unique access to the country’s research elite; winners will collaborate with German experts and contribute to sustainability research in Germany.

Closing date: 19 May
Organisation: The German Ministry for Education and Research

Ngā hui Conferences

12-14 July, Wellington
NZIP & PHYSIKOS 2021 conference
This is the 18th conference of the New Zealand Institute of Physics, incorporating Physikos, the New Zealand Physics Teachers Conference. This conference aims to support and celebrate the breadth of physics activity while giving a view of where and how this field is preparing for the future.
7-9 September, Nelson
Physiomar 2021 conference
This is a triennial international forum for discussion of recent advances in all aspects of the physiology of aquatic invertebrates - including functional biology, growth, nutrition, reproduction, and adaptation to an ever-changing environment.

Mō Te Apārangi | About Us

Royal Society Te Apārangi supports New Zealanders to explore, discover and share knowledge. Our varied programmes provide support and opportunities for researchers, teachers and school students, together with those who are simply curious about the world. To learn more visit
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