Kia ora from Royal Society Te Apārangi | Issue #1098

2019 Prime Minister’s Science Prizes announced

The Prime Minister’s Science Prizes recognise the impact of science on New Zealanders’ lives, celebrate the achievements of current scientists and encourage scientists of the future. The 2019 Prime Minister’s Science Prize, the premier award for science that is transformational in its impact, was awarded to the Melting Ice and Rising Seas team, a group of more than 20 geologists, glaciologists, climate and social scientists from Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington, GNS Science and NIWA, led by the university’s Antarctic Research Centre Te Puna Pātiotio.

The Prime Minister’s 2019 MacDiarmid Emerging Scientist Prize winner was University of Auckland physicist Dr Miro Erkintalo, who has made pioneering contributions towards the development of new laser technologies. 

Professor Rangi Matamua, a Tūhoe astronomer who’s raised awareness about the significance of Matariki, won the Prime Minister’s Science Communications Prize.

Mathematics and Statistics Faculty Head at Cashmere High School in Christchurch, Dr Michelle Dalrymple is the first maths teacher to win the Prime Minister’s Science Teacher Prize

Finally, a robot that’s designed to take wheelie bins to and from the kerb for  the elderly and people with disabilities has won 17-year-old Christchurch school student Thomas James the Prime Minister’s 2019 Future Scientist Prize
View more on the winners

Indigenous voices on sustainability take global platform

Māori philosopher Associate Professor Krushil Watene of Massey University has been appointed to the United Nations Human Development Advisory Board. Dr Watene, Ngāti Manu, Te Hikutu, Ngāti Whātua o Orākei, Tonga, says the voices and values of Indigenous peoples have much to contribute in finding solutions to environmental catastrophe - and we can no longer afford to overlook and ignore them.

Dr Watene also sits on the Society's Te Tapeke Fair Futures Expert Panel exploring equality, equity and fairness in Aotearoa.


New botany journal issue

A new issue of the New Zealand Journal of Botany has been published. Article topics cover the cultivation of toromiro (S. toromiro) from Rapa Nui/Easter Island, the impact of phytoplasm on cabbage trees, and the cascading effects of termite mounds in African savannas.


Research funding COVID-19 update

Due to COVID-19, Immigration New Zealand’s visa processing times may be delayed. Royal Society Te Apārangi will therefore allow Rutherford Foundation applications to be submitted this year without an approved resident visa. However, an approved resident visa must be received by the time of short-listing for the application to remain eligible. There has also been an extension of postgraduate support from Marsden Fund and Rutherford Discovery Fellowships and changes to Catalyst Fund calls.


He pitopito kōrero News bulletin

Newly funded study aims to improve outcomes for more than one in 10 New Zealand births
New Zealand researchers are about to undertake the largest-ever trial of corticosteroids in women having planned caesareans. This is one of the 47 new studies funded by the HRC's Project and Programme grants.
@Health Research Council of New Zealand
Taika Waititi’s Piki Films signs indigenous writers for three projects about colonisation
New Zealand production company Piki Films is launching three projects with Māori writers, focussing on stories about the effects of colonisation.
Ben Dalton @Screen Daily 
Construction starts on new Lincoln Uni science facility
The university has marked the start of construction of its new Science South facility with sod-turning ceremony and a site blessing.
@Otago Daily Times
Lessons from Māori voices in NZ's science sector
A 'Guide to Vision Mātauranga – Lessons from Māori Voices in the New Zealand Science Sector' is a comprehensive review of the application of Vision Mātauranga over the past decade.
@ Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities National Science Challenge
Watch: Sunday – WE'LL BE RIGHT
Three very different companies creating Kiwi innovation share their lessons from lockdown in a story of success, hope and opportunity.
South Pole is warming three times faster than the rest of the world, new research shows
The South Pole has warmed three times the global rate in the past 30 years, Kiwi scientists revealed on Monday.
Addressing systemic inequalities in science
The latest 10-minute interview for Global Science TV has been launched. This week it features astrophysicist Dr Brittany Kamai addressing the #ShutDownSTEM movement and global systemic inequalities in science systems. 
@International Science Council

Ngā take o te wā Events

3 July, Wanaka 

Expect the unexpected! Adventures in the icy cold world of quantum physics

In this talk, Massey University's Professor Joachim Brand will introduce audiences to the physics of superfluids and show how laser-cooled atomic gases may hold the key to understand physical phenomena like high-temperature superconductivity, or the origin of the universe.

7 July, Hawke's Bay

Horticulture trends in The Netherlands and Belgium 2020

Plant & Food Research's Nicolette Niemann will give a talk on the outcome of the Executive International Horticultural Program tour through Europe, which aims to generate a pool of strategic thinkers in New Zealand to help us make the best decisions for a future in horticulture.  
9 July, Wellington

How tectonic and surface processes interact to shape the landscape

As part of the Hochstetter lecture tour, Phaedra Upton of GNS Science will give a talk on recent developments in modelling tectonics and surface processes. She will focus on collisional settings such as New Zealand's Southern Alps where rapid uplift combines with vigorous climate regimes to create dynamic landscapes. 
27 July, Wellington

The currency of water

This is a combined panel discussion/film screening event. The panel will explore the future of freshwater in New Zealand by unpacking the perspectives around freshwater in the future. A screening of the film 'Aquarela' will follow, which focusses on the transformative beauty and raw power of water.

Ngā whiwhinga Opportunities

Research grants for Wellington Medical Researchers

Research For Life (RFL) invites Wellington-based medical researchers to apply for research grants. RFL funds innovative quality research undertaken by researchers in the early stages of their careers who, through their work, will advance the quality of healthcare.

Closing date: 28 August 2020
Organisation: Research For Life

Job opportunity with the New Zealand Sea Lion Field Team

The Department of Conservation’s Mountains to Sea team, as a part of fulfilling its commitments under the New Zealand sea lion Threat Management Plan, is seeking enthusiastic team members to undertake fieldwork at the subantarctic islands this summer.

Closing date: 10 July 2020
Organisation: Department of Conservation
New Zealand Biosecurity Awards 2020

These awards aim to recognise and celebrate outstanding work from people and organisations across New Zealand who are contributing to our nation's biosecurity - in communities, schools, businesses, Māori organisations and iwi, universities, councils and in government.

Closing date: 30 July 2020
Organisation: Biosecurity New Zealand
2021 Judith Binney Fellowship and Writing Awards

The fellowships and awards, opening on 13 July, support research and writing on New Zealand history or associated topics. The fellowship is available for an established scholar to undertake or complete significant research. The writing awards are for emerging scholars, or for the beginning or completion of a project. 

Closing date: 28 August 2020
Organisation: Judith Binney Trust

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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