CRI science celebrated at national science awards

12 November 2019

Awardees from New Zealand’s seven Crown Research Institutes (CRIs) gathered at Parliament Buildings on 11 November to celebrate the outstanding science undertaken by CRI researchers in their fields. Scion scientists were presented awards in three categories on the night.

Dr Brian Richardson was acknowledged with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his 36 years in biosecurity research. Brian’s stellar career has featured domestic and internationally significant work as well as pest-, vegetation- and sustainable forest-management. His achievements have included international recognition, with an award from the USDA Forest Service for technology transfer, acknowledging his research on spray modelling software, used to determine pesticide drift and efficacy.

Brian has also served as a Senior Executive within Scion and now works as a Principal Scientist, where he focuses on research relating to forest protection, particularly in the areas of biosecurity and pest management.

At the other end of the career spectrum – Dr Roya Rezanavaz won an Early Career Researcher Award for her leadership on a project working with Kai Rotorua and Rotorua Boys High School to bring kūmara history to life with 3D printing. The project provided students with a practical way of engaging in science and technology using their own cultural heritage and bridging western science and mātauranga Māori.

The Team Award was bestowed on Scion’s Extrusion Plus team, who have developed a technology platform to convert biomass from primary industries into renewable natural materials to replace fossil fuel-based ingredients. Their work is creating the products to help New Zealand make the shift from a linear, fossil-fuel based economy to a circular bioeconomy. Their products have included sander dust combined with bioplastic PLA to make 3D printing filament, kiwifruit hair and skin combined with bioplastic to make utensils for eating kiwifruit (Zespri’s biospife), and grape marc with biodegradable bioplastic for use in the viticulture sector. They are credited with building the foundation for biomaterial manufacture in New Zealand.

The annual Science New Zealand Awards were initiated to recognise the hardworking CRI scientists who provide invaluable research for the betterment of New Zealand.