Celebrating research excellence
Scion’s leadership in forestry science, bioplastics research and biotechnology was celebrated by Scion and our peers at the 2022 Science New Zealand Awards.
cientists from all seven Crown Research Institutes and Callaghan Innovation were represented at the awards ceremony in Wellington. The awards were in three categories – Early Career Researcher, Lifetime Achievement, and Team.
Scion chief executive Dr Julian Elder says the awards showed the depth and breadth of talent across Scion and lifted the profile of their impactful research for New Zealand.
Scion principal researcher Dr Mike Watt received one of eight Individual/Lifetime Achievement Awards for his distinguished scientific career spanning more than two decades. He has made significant contributions to several research areas with notable influence within the areas of forest science, weed management, forest growth modelling and, most recently, remote sensing.
He has produced 173 peer-reviewed publications across a range of topics connected to forestry, making him one of our country’s most prolific and trusted forest researchers. His scientific explorations have advanced knowledge of our nation’s forest estates, providing opportunities for industry to translate his research into practice – adding enormously to the health and economic value of plantation forests across Aotearoa.
An Early Career Researcher Award was presented to Dr Angelique Greene, one of Scion’s most creative and productive emerging scientists since joining Scion’s Biopolymers and Chemicals team.
Her keen sense for immediate commercial impact has been demonstrated through the success of her Innovation Jumpstart project that developed into a collaboration with Auckland-based filament manufacturer Imagin Plastics. Together with Scion, and with very significant input from Greene, they have developed an innovative new product targeting users of home 3D printers.
The Team Award was the third category and Scion’s awardee was the CVC Vaccine Biotech Team. The interdisciplinary team partnered with CVC (Covid-19 Vaccine Corporation) to contribute to the global fight against SARS-CoV-2 by helping to develop and manufacture an experimental Covid-19 vaccine.
The team worked through early stages of the pandemic with CVC to fast-track the production of vaccine prototypes that CVC took into pre-clinical testing. Scion’s team designed fermentation techniques to produce vaccine material, cultivating it in fermenters before purifying it for further testing offshore.
Scion’s resources and expertise working with PHA-producing bacteria, combined with the ability to work flexibly in the face of a global health challenge, was critical to CVC achieving proof of concept for their strategy.