Prime Minister’s Science Prize Winners

Our top scientists


Science Prize 2013-winners
From left: Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart McCutcheon, Science Communicator Dr Siouxsie Wiles; Prime Minister Rt Hon John Key Prime: the Prime Minister’s Science Prize Winners Professors Grant Covic and John Boys and MacDiarmid Emerging Scientist Dr Ben O’Brien.

Four University of Auckland academics have won three out of five of the Prime Minister’s Science Prizes.

Professors John Boys and Grant Covic from the Faculty of Engineering accepted the top award for the 2013 Prime Minister’s Science Prize. John and Grant have pioneered wireless or inductive power transfer technology, and coined IPT terminology globally. Their technology is used throughout the world, from factories that depend on automated systems or clean-room environments, to charging electric vehicles (EV).

Auckland Bioengineering Institute scientist, Dr Ben O’Brien won the 2013 Prime Minister’s MacDiarmid Emerging Scientist Prize. Ben has pioneered the development of small, light and soft, stretchy sensors that can measure movement of the human body and transmit the information to a smart phone app. Earlier this year, he formed a company – StretchSense – to start selling the technology to global customers in healthcare, rehabilitation, sports training, animation and gaming.

Microbiologist Dr Siouxsie Wiles won the 2013 Prime Minister’s Science Media Communication Prize. As well as working as a scientist in the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, Siouxsie is a media commentator and blogger who regularly gives public talks about science. She was one of the faces of last year’s public engagement campaign for the National Science Challenges.

The Prime Minister’s Science Prizes celebrate scientific achievement, highlight the impact science has on New Zealanders’ lives and aim to attract more young people into science careers.