Scion is proud of the talented and committed people who make up our staff. We support them to apply their skills and knowledge for the benefit of New Zealand, and are pleased when their contribution is recognised by others.
Recent awards received by Scion staff include:
Future Forest Research Awards 2013
Scion staff took home four of the five Future Forest Research (FFR) awards, which were presented by FFR chair Phil Taylor at the conference in September. Congratulations to:
Dave Henley - winner of the Contribution to a Science Team Award
Awarded to Dave for his consistent and significant contribution to the North and South Island field measurement programme. Dave consistently delivers research data and trial treatments of the highest quality that underpins many successful research team projects.
Paul Milliken – winner of the Innovation Adding Value to the Sector Award
Paul received this award for the development of a video camera system for use in steep country harvesting. The ability to remotely pan, tilt, and zoom, enables a hauler operator to view the entire cutover area on a colour screen in the cab of the hauler. As well as improving productivity by assisting with the pick-up of logs in the cutover, often in areas out of sight to the hauler operator, it also enables the operator to see that workers breaking out in the harvest area are in safe zones before the load is pulled in.
Dave Pont – winner of the Science of International Quality Award
Dave’s efforts over the past year have resulted in finalising a methodology that allows accurate automated counting of trees using remote sensing LiDAR and other aerial imagery. Development of an accurate methodology for counting trees is a world first that is likely to considerably improve understanding of how individual tree variation affects a range of inventory and wood quality metrics.
Jeremy Snook – winner of the Communication and Sector Engagement Award
Over the last year Jeremy has consistently converted complex science outputs into a format that is readily understood by industry users and to present these tools to industry in an interesting and clear manner. In a series of industry workshops during the year Jeremy clearly and succinctly presented and described the Forecaster forest modelling system, reinforcing its capability.
Elaine Birk of Rayonier NZ Ltd won the Research Participation and Uptake Award for her role in developing and delivering productivity workshops and constantly challenging FFR members to have more meaningful engagement and tech translation.
FFR represents the interests of the forest industry and associated organisations in working with key funding organisations, commissioning and managing research and communicating research outcomes to members.
Queen Elizabeth II Science Technician Study awards
Judy Gardner and Ian Simpson were recipients of the QEII study award for 2013.
“I had been wanting to explore biosecurity issues and management of Phytophthora and was looking for a university to visit," Judy said. "It turned out that my colleague Peter Scott had started a trial at Murdoch University in Perth before he joined Scion and was keen for someone to finish it.
“This fitted perfectly with the study awards criteria and my interests as well. Peter was so supportive and encouraging of my entry, as was the rest of my team. Nari Williams had also studied there, and I’ll also have the chance to catch up with a former Scion colleague who has recently started working at the university too,” says Judy.
Ian Simpson, Researcher in the Wood and Fibre Team, will travel to England to study the management of genetically modified organisms and field testing at Rothamstead Research, just north of London.
New Zealand Institute of Forestry Chavasse Travel Award
PhD student Stefania Pizzirani was awarded the New Zealand Institute of Forestry Chavasse Travel Award for 2013. The award provides funding for national or international travel and recognises forestry excellence and personal integrity.
The grant allowed Stefania to present her PhD research at the 7th International Conference of the International Society for Industrial Ecology at the University of Ulsan in South Korea.
“My PhD research focuses on exploring alternative forestry practices and wood-based products to help achieve Māori aspirations,” Stefania said. “In order to do this effectively a technique called Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment (LCSA) will be utilised to review and analyse the environmental, economic, social and cultural impacts of these new forestry and wood product options. This research, therefore, will ultimately help Māori landowners explore ‘what if’ scenarios and make future forestry-related decisions.
“The integration of indigenous cultural values within the LCSA process will be one of the first of its kind. This research will also greatly contribute to the limited studies regarding the use of LCSA both as a decision-making tool and process, and as a technique to determine sustainable forestry practices and products.”
Wiley Practice Prize for Multi-Criteria Decision Making 2013
Big data scientist Oliver Chikumbo won the prestigious Wiley Practice Prize at the Multi-Criteria Decision Making Conference in Spain. The prize, which was sponsored by the Journal of Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis, and is awarded every two years, was for the best paper describing a real-life application of multiple criteria decision making.
Multi-Criterion Decision Making (MCDM) is a recent science for solving problems with many criteria and in most cases involving many stakeholders.
Oliver was lead author in the paper “Triple bottom line, hyper-radial-visualisation based decision-making by shopping for a land use management problem using evolutionary multi-objective optimisation.”
His co-authors were Professors Kalyan Deb and Erik Goodman from BEACON – a centre for the study of evolution in action at Michigan State University.
In their paper, Oliver and his colleagues optimised land-use for a 1500ha farm simultaneously accounting for a range of production, economic, and environmental criteria. The real breakthrough in his approach was combining heuristic (intuitive judgement), genetic algorithms and epigenetic programming to derive the best land use solutions.
New Zealand Plant Protection Society Medal 2012
The New Zealand Plant Protection Society gave its highest honour to scientist Margaret Dick at its 2012 conference in Nelson.
Margaret was presented with the Plant Protection Society medal to honour herextensive contribution to disease management and biosecurity in the forestry sector. Just some of Margaret's career highlights include helping nursery and forest managers to
decrease the costs and risks associated with major forest diseases. Margaret also contributes to the protection of urban and native trees through her work on technical advisory groups for Dutch elm disease and kauri dieback.
Future Forest Research Awards 2012
The FFR Award for Communication and Sector Engagement went to Senior Scientist Graham West. Graham has championed the development of FFR Forecaster as a planning and modelling tool for forest planners and managers to evaluate the best forest management regimes and predict future yields, quality and value.
Wood Quality Scientist Mark Riddell received the FFR award for Science of International Quality for the development of a new method of assessing spiral grain in trees. The judges said Mark’s prototype system, which uses a converted flat-bed scanner, can provide information on spiral grain at a much higher resolution than previous techniques.
The FFR Award for Contribution to a Science Team went to Charlie Low who is Task Leader for Cypress Breeding and for Genetic Resources. In his time at Scion, Charlie has developed an encyclopaedic knowledge on a range of exotic forestry species on a range of sites.
International Union of Forest Research Organisations (IUFRO) Distinguished Service Award 2012
Senior scientist Dave Cown received the IUFRO Distinguished Service Award again in 2012.
Dave was also named a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Forestry at the 2012 Conference and AGM.
Future Forests Research awards 2011
Michael Watt and Carol Rolando received the inaugural Future Forests Research award for 'Enhancing Sector Value', which was based around their work on weed control in newly planted forests with chemicals that have been widely used. Their research enables commercial plantation forestry to thrive in many areas of the country.
Mark Kimberley received the award recognising 'Science of International Quality' for his ground-breaking research on developing new techniques for modelling the growth of forests. More specifically, this research examines a new growth index that predicts the productivity of radiata pine across New Zealand.
Future Forests Research, established in 2007, is a partnership between forest industry organisations and Scion to fund, organise and circulate forestry research for the benefit of the wider New Zealand forestry sector.
The two other award recipients were Rien Visser of the University of Canterbury for 'Communication and Sector Engagement', and Dave Lowry of Hancock Forest Management for Research Participation and Uptake'.
Dumont d'Urville Science and Technology Programme 2011
Cathy Hargreaves, a scientist in Scion's tree breeding and propagation team, received a funding award through the Dumont d'Urville programme.
The award has enabled her to advance research focusing on novel technologies to propogate conifers through international collaborations with researchers at two French forest research organisations. The funding will facilitate the reciprocal visits of two Scion scientists and one from each of the French institutes.
International Union of Forest Research Organisations (IUFRO) Distinguished Service Award 2011
Senior scientist Dave Cown received the prestigious IUFRO award in 2011 for his contribution to forestry sciences spanning over 40 years.
Appita Oertel Nadelbaum Distinguished Service Award, December 2010
Fibre processing scientist Dr Ian Suckling was recognised for his outstanding ongoing contribution to Appita - the technical association that represents the Australian and New Zealand Pulp and Paper Industry.
Small World photomicrography, January 2010
Dr Lloyd Donaldson was placed eighth out of 137 winners in the Nikon “Small World” photographic competition. His image featured in the 2010 Nikon Small World promotional calendar.
Small World is regarded as the leading forum for showcasing the beauty and complexity of life as seen through the light microscope. The competition, which Nikon has been running for 30 years, is aimed at rewarding the world's best photomicrographers who make critically important scientific contributions to life sciences, bio-research and materials science.
Packaging award, September 2009
Scion won a special award at the 2009 Packaging Awards Dinner, organised by the Packaging Council of New Zealand. The dinner was attended by the Minister for the Environment Dr Nick Smith and other industry leaders. Scion’s award was for the Biopolymer Network polylactic acid foam technology as a technology that minimises the environmental impact of packaging and increases packaging recovery rates.
Forester of the Year, June 2009
Scion scientist Dr David Bergin was co-awarded* 2009 Forester of the Year by the New Zealand Institute of Forestry. This prestigious award recognises his long contribution to advocating the use of native tree species for commercial, environmental and cultural benefits.
As a site management specialist in ecological restoration and native planting programmes, David’s research has covered a range of ecosystems including coastal sand dunes, riparian areas, regenerating indigenous forest and plantations.
* 2009 Forester of the Year was awarded jointly to David Bergin and George Asher, CEO of the Lake Taupo Forest Trust and General Manager of the Lake Rotoaira Trust in the Central North Island.