Awards and accolades

Scion is a partner in the Biopolymer Network Limited, which won this year’s Kiwi Innovation Network Commercialisation Collaboration Award.

New Zealand Forest Owners Association Awards

  • Together with the Pest Management Team, Dr Carol Rolando was awarded the New Zealand Forest Owners Association award for Sector Communication and Engagement.
  • Dr Nari Williams won both the Science Impact and Collaboration awards. The Science Impact award recognised the work done by the Phytophthora research team in demonstrating the pathogenicity of Phytophthora pluvialis and that P. pluvialis was unlikely to pose a risk to other countries through log trade. The Collaboration award was for outstanding efforts in bringing together CRIs, universities, industry and other stakeholders for the Health trees, healthy future programme.

Best poster/paper

Lisa Langer won the official judges’ award for best poster at the Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authorities Council (AFAC) /Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC Conference in Wellington for her poster entitled 'Effective wildfire communication in New Zealand: target the audience, tailor the message and tune the method'. It beat 110 other entries to win.

Gerty Gielen achieved first equal for best paper and presentation at the Land Treatment Collective conference in Wanaka (March 2015) with a review on nutrient monitoring from the Waipa Catchment.

Gonzalo Avila, Maria Roman (Auckland University Students co-funded by Scion), Dr Toni Withers and Dr Greg Holwell (supervisors) were awarded best poster at the Entomological Society Conference in April in Auckland, on “The potential global distribution of the bronze bug, Thaumastocoris peregrinus (Hemiptera: Thaumastocoridae)”.

Scion’s University of Canterbury PhD student Kevin Chase received the New Zealand Entomological Society’s award for best student talk on invasive species. The talk was titled “Allee effects and the establishment of exotic invasive bark beetles”. Kevin is supervised by Scion’s Dr Eckehard Brockerhoff, Dr Dave Kelly (University of Canterbury School of Biological Sciences) and Dr Sandy Liebhold (US Forest Service).

Scion Awards 2014

Scion recognised the following staff for their outstanding achievements and contributions:

  • Science Excellence Award won posthumously by Dr Roger Newman.
  • Quality Initiative Award won by Dr Martin Bader.
  • Excellence in Customer Engagement Award won by Vicky Hodder, Dr Nari Williams, Dr Carol Rolando, Dr Rebecca Ganley, and Lindsay Bulman.
  • New Opportunity Award won by Duncan Harrison, Juan Monge, Loretta Garrett, Tim Barnard.
  • People’s Choice Award won jointly by Lesley Fitness and the Field Crews Team (Toby Stovold, Kane Fleet, Mark Miller, Liam Wright, Rodrigo Osorio, Steve Pearce, Graeme Oliver, Tony Evanson, Dave Henley, Rod Brownlie, Jessica Kerr, Brooke O’Conner, Alan Leckie and Les Dowling).


Dr Katharine Challis was awarded a Marsden Fast Start grant to explore how tiny molecular motors use energy. The $300,000 grant will be used to develop a new comprehensive and universal theory especially for nanoscale molecular motors. more.

Dr Martin Bader won Scion’s “Established Researchers’ Fund” worth $30,000 for a dendroecological project called: “Climatic influences on tree growth and wood properties – what can we learn from high-precision dendrometers?”

Belinda Gresham received a Queen Elizabeth II Technician’s Study Award to travel to Australia to develop diagnostic skills in identifying Australian insects, specifically bark beetles, wood-borers and psyllids; insect groups of particular importance to New Zealand forestry.

Dr Warren Grigsby was awarded a Japan Society for Promotion of Science Invitational fellowship. This enabled him to spend three weeks in Tsukuba working with colleagues at Forest & Forest Products Research Institute (FFPRI) on a collaborative project to assess the emissions produced from wood panels using bioadhesives. more

Four Royal Society New Zealand-Germany Science and Technology Programme grants were received by Scion scientists to undertake a study tour of selected German research organisations. The objective was to explore initiatives for longer-term collaborations in four topic areas: engineered wood products/making panel products from fibres; bio-energy; bio-products/renewable chemicals; and packaging. Additional funding was received from MBIE which enabled nine scientists to visit German research institutes and universities and identify possible future collaborations.

Dr Rebecca McDougal was awarded an Oomycete Molecular Genetics Network Travel Award to attend the Oomycete Bioinformatics Training Workshop in Blacksburg, Virginia, June 2015.

Dr Tara Strand received a travel award to visit Dr April Hiscox at the University of South Carolina to collaborate on understanding the role of turbulence in the canopy roughness sub layer on aerosol deposition.

An AGMARDT incoming fellow travel award was successfully obtained to allow Dr Bruce Marcot from the USDA-FS (an expert in Bayesian Networks) to work with Scion on the Forest Health Surveillance scheme.

Echo Herewini (a Masters student supervised by Peter Scott and Nari Williams) received a $3,500 Pūrehuroa Study Award from Massey University.

Dr Eckehard Brockerhoff was awarded a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS)/Royal Society Fellowship to conduct research with the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute in Japan.

Dr Alankar Vaidya received a Golden Jubilee Visiting Fellowship from Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai, India in December 2014.

Dr Dan Neary (USDA Forest Service) received a 2014 Fellowship award from the OECD Co-operative Research Programme to visit Scion for 20 weeks and collaborate with Dr Brenda Baillie on maintaining water quality under sustainable intensification of plantation forestry in New Zealand.

The University of Tasmania (UTAS) was awarded an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage grant to conduct research into linking plant genetics and chemistry to maximise softwood production, with partner organisations, including Scion. Scion’s Dr Heidi Dungey is one of the Principal Investigators. The aim is to test pest management in softwood forestry using a genetic approach, focusing on the stripping of bark from radiata pine trees by mammals.

Professional positions

Dr Paul Bennett was appointed to the Board of the Bioenergy Association and also to the Royal Society Expert Panel on Climate Change Mitigation.

Dr Toni Withers was re-elected Treasurer of the executive board for the New Zealand Plant Protection Society.

Dr Tim Payn was elected a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Forestry. He was also elected a Member of Future Earth Engagement Committee. Future Earth ( is a global research platform providing the knowledge and support to accelerate our transformations to a sustainable world. Dr Payn was also selected as one of eight technical experts to advise the BOP Regional Council on technical aspects of land management, for a two-year term.

Andrea Stocchero was appointed to the Board of the Passive Housing Institute New Zealand (

Dr Beccy Ganley was appointed a member of the Kiwifruit Biosecurity Steering Group.

Dr Eckehard Brockerhoff was confirmed as coordinator of the IUFRO Division 7 (Forest Health) and member of the IUFRO Board for 2014-2019, at the IUFRO World Congress in October 2014, at Salt Lake City, USA.