Scientists from all seven Crown Research Institutes and Callaghan Innovation were represented at the ceremony held in Parliament on Tuesday (6 December) night. The awards are in three categories – Early Career Researcher, Lifetime Achievement, and Team. Each Science New Zealand member names a recipient in each category and a panel of independent judges chooses a Supreme Award winner from the 24 awardees.
Scion’s awardee for Individual/Lifetime Achievement is Principal Researcher Dr Mike Watt (pictured) for his leadership in forest science, Scion’s awardee for Early Career Researcher is biopolymer scientist Dr Angelique Greene, and our awardee for the Team Award is the biotechnology team that collaborated with a company in 2021 to support work that explored an experimental Covid-19 vaccine.
Scion chief executive Dr Julian Elder says the awards showed the depth and breadth of talent across Crown scientists, including Scion, and lifted the profile of their impactful research for New Zealand. “Most scientists quietly work behind the scenes, but this is a chance to celebrate their achievements and recognise their extraordinary contributions to various industries and New Zealand’s economy.
Scion Principal Researcher Dr Mike Watt received one of eight Individual/Lifetime Achievement Awards for his distinguished scientific career spanning more than two decades. During this time, 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.
A globally recognised expert in his field, Dr Watt’s expertise and research leadership will continue to be sought-after by forest managers needing a competitive edge.