Outstanding research across Waipapa Taumata Rau, University of Auckland is acknowledged in the 2022 Celebrating Research Excellence Awards.

Ayesha Verrall and Jim Metson
Research, Science and Innovation Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Professor Jim Metson at the 2022 CRE Awards.

At an awards ceremony on 3 November, Research Science and Innovation Minister, the Hon Dr Ayesha Verrall, described the research community as the country's 'greatest asset' in responding to the complex challenges faced by Aotearoa New Zealand and the world.

The theme for the University of Auckland's 2022 Celebrating Research Excellence Awards was Hīkina kia Tutuki, Rise to Meet the Challenge.

Dr Verrall, who was the keynote speaker, said New Zealand and the world faced complex challenges from climate change to multi-generational social issues to transforming the economy.

“These awardees demonstrate crucial contributions from our people to develop and achieve impact through excellent research."

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research, Professor Jim Metson, said the overarching aim of Hīkina kia Tutuki was to promote research that addresses the intergenerational challenges and aspirations of our communities. 

He thanked researchers for their continued commitment over what have been a very challenging few years.

“I would like to personally acknowledge the hard work and dedication of our entire research community,” he said. 

2022 Celebrating Excellence Awards, 2022
Full house at the Celebrating Excellence Awards 2022 held at the University of Auckland Business School.

The 2022 Celebrating Research Excellence Awards saw the launch of the inaugural Research Impact Awards, acknowledging research that has a profound impact on communities far beyond the University.

The Research Impact Awards recognise social, environmental, economic, health and cultural impact of research and creative practice.

Professor Christine Rubie-Davies, of the Faculty of Education and Social Work, received the inaugural individual Research Impact Award (RIA) for her work on the impact of teacher expectations on student learning. Her research, encapsulated in a book, is required reading for teachers and led to policy change, with ability grouping discouraged by several government agencies.

The group Research Impact Awardees were:

  • Professor Andrew Jeffs and team (Science) for their project to restore native, green-lipped mussels
  • Associate Professor Peng Du and team (Auckland Bioengineering Institute, Faculty of Medical and Health Science) on a non-invasive device that monitors gastric disorders
  • Associate Professor Jason Brown and John Middleton (Arts) on work to preserve endangered Pacific languages
  • Professor Terryann Clark and team (FMHS) whose work surveying the health and well-being of more than 36,000 teenagers has provided a rich source of policy change for the better.

The Research Excellence Medals for excellence in senior academics were awarded to:

  • Professor Craig Elliffe, (Law) for research on how to tax the digital economy more equitably
  • Professor Jadranka Travas-Sejdic and Professor David Barker (Science) for work on organic electronics
  • Dr Rohit Ramchandra, Dr Julia Shanks and Professor Julian Paton (FHMS and Science) for their novel pacemaker which is able to mimic the variability of heartbeats
  • Dr Maria Armoudian (Arts) for her work on human and system dynamics when faced with social, environmental challenges.

The Early Career Research Excellence Awards went to:

  • Dr Emma Sharp, Science
  • Dr Enrique del Rey Castillo, Engineering
  • Dr Igor Kontorovich, Science
  • Dr Patrick Thomsen, Arts
  • Dr Sarah Gerritsen, FHMS
  • Dr William Cheung, Business

The Celebrating Research Awards ceremony also presented the previously announced winners of the Vice-Chancellor’s Prize for Best Doctoral Thesis.

Due to the pandemic, the awards have not been held in person since 2019.

Media contact:

Gilbert Wong, gilbert.wong@auckland.ac.nz