0.1 Director’s report – Annual Report 2017

2017 has been another exceptional year for the MacDiarmid Institute; from our AMN8 international conference in February, and our expanding industry collaborations, through to our growing engagement with schools and communities.

Excellent science has always been the bedrock of everything we do. This is continually endorsed externally, for example by the Nature Science Index 2016, who ranked us 4th amongst New Zealand’s top 10 research institutions. Again, our researchers have been outstandingly successful in competitive research grant schemes, securing in excess of $54M, giving testimony for the quality of our science.

The AMN8 conference is increasingly international, with 69 percent of the more than 500 delegates coming from overseas and including world-renowned researchers in Materials Science. The event was much more than a typical Materials Science conference; plenary speaker David Leigh spoke to over 600 school children and the ‘Women in Science’ panel attracted great interest from the public, conference delegates and the media.

The ‘Women in Science’ event at the AMN8 was so successful we based our Regional Lecture Series 2017 on this theme. Our female nanoscientists travelled the country to speak about their personal science journeys, inspiring hundreds of New Zealanders across seven regional centres.

The mid-term review was an important milestone for the MacDiarmid Institute – a great opportunity to reflect on our activities in the first funding term and to position ourselves for the next term and beyond 2020.

Our Industry Interface Challenge, where several New Zealand companies pitched technical problems to MacDiarmid Investigators, resulted in industry-led follow-on projects, along with lasting relationships with these companies and potential employment opportunities for our students.

I thank all of our investigators for their great work. I would particularly like to acknowledge our outgoing Board Chair, Dr Ray Thomson, whose influence and knowledge in commercialisation and entrepreneurship has had a huge impact on our success in this area. I also recognise and thank our two outgoing Deputy Directors, Nicola Gaston and Justin Hodgkiss, for their outstanding contributions and continuing support.