Highlighting MacDiarmid Deputy Directors

Highlighting MacDiarmid Deputy Directors

Within these roles Shaun’s major responsibilities are focused around working with our stakeholder Ministries, agencies, the media and the public in addition to developing methods for measuring and monitoring the performance of the MacDiarmid Institute and leading the development of methods for measuring and monitoring the innovation performance of New Zealand.

Simon is tasked with leading the development of a culture of sustainable commercialisation within the MacDiarmid Institute and a framework of experience and expertise both within and external to (commercialisation and industry stakeholders, other research organisations and end-users) the MacDiarmid Institute.  He will also be working towards the development of methods for measuring and monitoring our commercialisation performance and ensuring that we communicate to the media and the public on matters of science commercialisation.

Simon is a founding Principal Investigator of the MacDiarmid Institute and Shaun was appointed in late 2002.

Shaun’s expertise is as a computational and simulations physicist, specialising in behaviour at the nanometre.  He both supports and also predicts new behaviour that can be investigated by experimental researchers.  Shaun examines research productivity through analysis of published journal articles and potential correlation with research collaboration, the latter of which can be pictorially summarised in connectivity maps.  Recently Shaun has used his expertise to begin to initially analyse and more latterly define the drivers of innovation and to apply physical science analysis tools to economic data.  Shaun is also very active in science communication.  In September of 2009 he started his blog ‘A Measure of Science’ which has attracted considerable following, is a regular on Radio National and has strong links with the Science Media Centre.  He is currently writing a book with Paul Callaghan as a follow up to Paul’s Wool to WETA, published in 2009.

Simon is an experimental physicist specialising in the synthesis and properties of nanoparticles (or clusters) and nanowires prepared using primarily deposition techniques, with a driver of making nano-electronic devices, for the advancement and development of new and existing capabilities.  He has considerable expertise in scanning electron microscopy, a technique which was the focus of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1986.  In 2004 he founded the company Nano Cluster Devices a startup company focused on developing novel methods for taking clusters of atoms and forming them into electrically conducting wires.  Simon is also interested in understanding and promoting the understanding of the safe use of nanotechnology.

Strategic plan

The MacDiarmid Brand: how visible are we, how recognised are we and how synonymous are we with great science and in what circles?  Ideally we are highly visible, readily identified and acknowledged as experts in Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology across all our target stakeholders.  Building the MacDiarmid Brand requires different strategies not only with respect to our different stakeholders but also the age and geographic demographics within our stakeholders.

Taking the New Zealand public as an example stakeholder, ideas to achieve strong Brand recognition included the utilisation of podcasts and apps or games (check out http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/525347 as an example), linking up with journalism courses around New Zealand and working with them to enhance their science reporting skills and also of course ensuring that we are getting our stories out to different audiences and one I am sure that would take off for sure is speed dating a scientist, there would be queues from both sides for that one.

These ideas and more are being developed as part of our short to medium term strategic planning and preparation for rebidding and is an important part of our continued development and growth.