Scion awards its highest honor to researchers working on paper and pulping technology and forest hydrology for their work to make pulping processes more sustainable and to understand and later predict water flows across planted forest catchments

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October 27, 2023 (press release) –

Stars in Scion's paper and pulping technology and forest hydrology work have been given the research institute's highest honour.

Scion held its annual staff recognition awards on October 26, presenting awards to more than 50 staff.

The awards recognise emerging and established scientists and teams, as well as support staff, at the Crown research institute, which has its headquarters in Rotorua and offices in Christchurch and Wellington.

The top award - the Roger Newman Award for Science or Engineering Excellence - was jointly awarded for the first time to Plant Morphology and Physiology scientist Dean Meason and senior technologist Sean Taylor. They will each receive $3000 for equipment and/or technology, further study or a conference, or a visit to an organisation in a related field.

Meason is currently making an international impact with work on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment-supported Forest Flows research programme which aims to understand and later predict water flows across planted forest catchments and who gets to use the water. Taylor was acknowledged for his work in pulping and paper technology which has transformed sustainable pulping processes.

The award recognises the late Dr Roger Newman, who was a principal scientist at Scion, particularly in the areas of nuclear magnetic radiation and spectroscopy.

The staff awards recognise individual achievements, team success, respect for matauranga Maori and Scion's values of ingenuity, collaboration, excellence and manaakitanga.

Scion chief executive Dr Julian Elder says they are a fantastic opportunity to acknowledge staff achievements.

"The awards show the depth and breadth of the important work we do at Scion and the effort our staff put in every day."

The Industry/Stakeholder External Customer Engagement Award was given to the 13-person Fisher and Paykel Healthcare Polymer development team. This year Scion became a research partner in Fisher and Paykel Healthcare's development of new healthcare products. The partnership leverages the Scion team's expertise in polymers, sustainability and compliance.

Sierra De La Croix received the Recognition of Contribution to Maori Award for her contributions to projects across all three of Scion's Impact Areas.

John Henry was this year's Leadership Award/ Emerging Leader Award recipient. He leads Scion's Tree Biometrics Field Team taking care of a team split across North and South Island operations, delivering excellent results to science projects spanning the organisation. He was recognised for always putting the wellbeing, job satisfaction and career development of his team first.

Economy and Society research group leader Grace Villamor and Christchurch-based forest ecology scientist Rebecca Turner were jointly awarded the Recognition of Publication Success, while Christchurch-based senior scientist Jianming Xue was given the Stretchy Science/Smart Ideas Award.

Bio/Organic Chemistry team lead Beatrix Theobold won the Health and Safety Award while the Science Operations and Optimisation Team received the Enabling Scion Award. Sylke Campion, Catherine Banham, Nina Eichler and Tasman van der Woude shared the Recognition of Technician Success Award.

This year's recipients of the Scion Values Awards were Christel Brunschwig (collaboration), Lesley Fitness (manaakitanga), Anna de Lena (ingenuity) and the legal team (excellence).

For the second year, Kawenata awards were given to recognise staff who have contributed to the partnership between Scion and the three hapu - Ngati Hurungaterangi, Ngati Taeotu and Ngati Te Kahu. Recipients exemplified the matapono (principles) of the kawenata partnership commitment document.

The recipients were; sustainable chemistry team lead Kim McGrouther for the principle of Tiakina te mana o te whenua -- the responsibility to protect the whenua and waterways for future generations; Te Ao Maori research assistant Te Piataaio Raroa for the principle of Kotahitanga -- recognising the value of working together in the spirit of cooperation and partnership; and the marketing and communications team for the principle of whakapapa -- recognising the whakapapa connection that Nga Hapu e Toru have as mana whenua and their relationship to Scion as the current landowner as the foundation of the relationship.

Scion also nominates candidates in three categories to attend the Science New Zealand Awards at Parliament on December 6. All seven Crown Research Institutes are represented. Scion's nominees are Bing Song for the Early Career Researcher Award, the Microplastics team for the Team Award, and Dr Tanira Kingi for the Individual/Lifetime Achievement Award.

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