Our new Emeritus Investigators

Our new Emeritus Investigators

Quiet week this week, no controversy, think I did enough of that last time. This week it is time to shine the light on others. But first THANK YOU to the huge number of people I know and don’t know who contacted me and thanked me for speaking out on issues that they believe need to be openly debated in the public forum and to lead the development of active solutions to change the system across the board to deliver a better result for researchers and for the country as a whole. Whether they had read it in this forum, or heard the Radio National Morning Report piece, or the follow up interview with Kathryn Ryan on Nine to Noon , or the op ed piece in the Dominion Post/The Press on 1 June I was amazed by how many people supported me in this. Thank you. But the focus this week, are our new Emeritus Investigators. Prof Jim Johnston, Victoria University of Wellington, Prof Shaun Hendy, University of Auckland and Prof Simon Hall, Massey University will join Prof Jim Metson, University of Auckland, and Chief Scientist, MBIE, Prof Emeritus Alan Kaiser, Victoria University of Wellington and Prof Ken MacKenzie, Victoria University of Wellington as Emeritus Investigators in the Institute from 1 July this year. Our Emeritus Investigators had been supported as Principal Investigators during our first and second funding cycles in 2002-2008 and 2008-2014. With six Emeritus Investigators we are beginning, for the first time, to have a real identity for our Emeritus Investigator cohort. They are an immense resource for us: their experience, their positioning and essentially their engaged independence. As members of the Institute they know us well and can provide a perspective that is very different from that of our Principal and Associate Investigators. This perspective will be something that will become increasingly important during the next phase of the Institute’s evolution and as we progress our outcomes. It is impossible to do them justice in a paragraph each, but let me introduce our three new Emeritus Investigators. Jim Johnston: Jim was an important member of the team who put the original materials bid together from VUW, under the leadership of the late Sir Paul Callaghan. That bid eventually got merged with the University of Canterbury nanotechnology bid and the MacDiarmid Institute was created. Jim also worked with Paul to co-Chair AMN1 in 2003. Hard to believe that we are now in the initial planning stages of AMN8 to be held in 2017 in Queenstown. Jim’s research specialities have varied significantly during his time as a Principal Investigator, he has been involved in using nanoparticles to create next generation security paper, as the source of colouration of natural and synthetic fibres and to enhance the water proofing characteristics of packing materials. From lab-scale to commercial-scale, Jim works to drive and inform the fundamental work of his research students through to commercial reality, working with his students to support them to understand the possible translational pathways. Shaun Hendy: Shaun became a Principal Investigator during the first funding cycle of the institute. Specialising in molecular modelling Shaun has explored the wetting characteristics of surfaces, self-cleaning phenomena, surface modification, and more latterly the innovation systems of the world and complexity. He co-authored Get off the Grass with Paul, and received the Prime Minister’s Science Media Communication prize in 2012. Shaun became Deputy Director when Richard Blaikie took on the role of Director at the beginning of the second contract, a position he held for 4.5 years. In 2014 Shaun led a successful CoRE bid and he is now Director of Te Pūnaha Matatini. Simon Hall: Simon specialises in the development of new battery technologies and has spent much of the last ten plus years driving both fundamental developments and commercial realities, one outlet of which has been with the company Anzode. Simon is currently the Head of Institute of the Institute of Fundamental Sciences at Massey University. Simon worked as one of my advisory group during our recent successful bidding process; one of the checks and balances people, people who are always so important in these massive programmes. A personal thanks for that Simon. The calibre of our people and the contributions they have, and continue to make in the education and research sectors is impressive. We are fortunate to have them so strongly committed to work with and for the institute. ****************** Queen’s Birthday Honours Michelle Dickinson , Associate Investigator, University of Auckland and David Bibby one of our long term Board members (stepping down about a year ago) have both been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. David is to be a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit and Michelle to be a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to science. Massive congratulations to both Michelle and David, but actually much more than that a cool recognition of all that the two of you have done and achieved based on your incredible dedication and love of what you do – all credit to the two of you and great admiration. I hope you all had a great long weekend last weekend and that this weekend won’t be raining too much. Kate