University of Auckland 2020 Research Excellence Awards: Recipients announced
11 June 2020

Research Excellence Award winners exemplify success in bringing ideas to life for the public good.

Professor Wei Gao
Professor Wei Gao: 2020 Vice Chancellor's Commercialisation Medal recipient

The role of schools after disasters, the prospect of a predator-free New Zealand and how to reduce the risk women and their partners face of stillbirth are examples of research with real-world impact recognised in the 2020 Research Excellence Awards at the University of Auckland.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Dawn Freshwater announced the award winners in a live online forum today. Professor Freshwater said, “We celebrate these researchers and their work. They exemplify the vital role the University plays in fostering research that brings benefits to every aspect of our society. Our research has never been more critical as New Zealand seeks to reset and refresh the economy and society in the face of the global pandemic.”

Professor Jim Metson, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research said, “Our research not only leads to new products and industries, it also informs public debate, improves our health and well-being and helps solve the most complex challenges of our time.”

The awards recognise excellence at four stages in the careers of researchers: from the best doctoral theses, leadership and achievement in early career researchers, through to the outstanding achievements of senior researchers. The awards also acknowledge the significant contribution of the University to research in industry and society through the Research Commercialisation award, sponsored by UniServices.

UniServices Chief Executive Andy Shenk said: “Having again taken the No. 1 spot in the Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings for the second year in a row, our researchers and academics at the University of Auckland have proven they are leaders in building a better future.

"The recipients of the 2020 Vice-Chancellor’s Research Commercialisation Medals are researchers who have excelled in making significant contributions to society, and we applaud their success for bringing ideas to life for the good of all of us.”

The 2020 University of Auckland Research Award winners are:

Research Excellence Medals 2020
Professor Carol Mutch, Faculty of Education and Social Work

Associate Professor James Russell, Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science

Associate Professor Suranga Nanayakkara, Auckland Bioengineering Institute

Lesley McCowan, Peter Stone, Ed Mitchell, John Thompson, Robin Cronin, Ngaire Anderson, Minglan Li, Jess Wilson, School of Medicine, FMHS

The Vice-Chancellor’s Commercialisation Medals 2020
Professor Peter Hunter, Director, Auckland Bioengineering Institute

Professor Wei Gao, Chemical and Materials Engineering, Engineering

Professor Thor Besier, Auckland Bioengineering Institute

Early Career Research Excellence Awards 2020

Dr Tom Baker, Environmental Science, Faculty of Science

Dr Emily Parke, Humanities, Faculty of Arts

Dr Kathryn Bradbury, School of Population Health, FMHS

Associate Professor Rachael Parke, School of Nursing, FMHS

Dr Yalu Wen, Statistics, Science, Dr Colin Whittaker, Civil and Environmental, Engineering

Visit the University of Auckland website to learn more about the award recipients.