Premier research awards feature investigators from disciplines across the breadth of the University.

Caroline Crowther
Professor Caroline Crowther, Liggins Institute, recipient of a Research Excellence Medal.

The recipients of the University’s premier award for research, the Research Excellence Medal 2023, have made significant contributions to our understanding of pressing issues facing society.

Professor Caroline Crowther, Liggins Institute, leads multi-centre trials assessing treatments given to mothers before pre-term birth. The robust evidence from those trials has let to changes in standard treatments, leading to substantially reduced rates of death, disability and cerebral palsy for mothers and their babies worldwide.

A team from the Auckland Bioengineering Institute led by Professor Andrew Taberner, Dr Han June-Chiew and Dr Kenneth Tran receive a Research Excellence Team medal for their work exploring the energy produced and consumed by the heart. Known as the Cardiac Energetics Group, their work has led to insights into common cardiac health issues from high blood pressure, diabetes and high salt, high fat diets.

A second team medal has been awarded to a group from the Faculty of Medical and Health Science led by Professor Chris Bullen and Associate Professor Natalie Walker for research that has led to better ways to support people to quit smoking. Complications from smoking lead to the death of 13 New Zealanders every day.

Associate Professor Dan Hikuroa from the Faculty of Arts receives a Research Excellence medal for a range of work related to climate change, coastal and fresh waterways, and natural hazards. At heart, his research is about ‘realising the dreams and helping to resolve challenges facing Māori communities’ with mātauranga-led research.

The winners of Research Excellence Awards will formally receive their awards at a special event, Celebrating Research Excellence, Hīkina kia Tutuki, Rise to Meet the Challenge on 19 October. The winners of the best thesis prize will also receive their awards at the event.

The recipients of the Research Excellence Medals for 2023 are:

  • Professor Caroline Crowther (Liggins) – individual award
  • Associate Professor Daniel Hikuroa (Arts) – individual award
  • Professor Chris Bullen and Associate Professor Natalie Walker (FMHS) – team award
  • Professor Andrew Taberner, Dr June-Chiew Han and Dr Kenneth Tran (Auckland Bioengineering Institute) – team award

The recipients of the Research Impact Awards are:

  • Professor Anne Goldson (Arts) – individual award
  • Professor Carol Mutch (EDSW) – individual award
  • Professor Peter O’Connor (EDSW) – individual award
  • Dr Sereana Naepi (Arts) – individual award
  • Dr Ema Wolfgramm-Foliaki (EDSW) and Dr Sonia Fonua (Science) – team award
  • Professor Rochelle Constantine and team: Associate Professor Craig Radford, Professor Rachel Fewster and Associate Professor Emma Carroll (Science), Associate Professor Cameron Walker (Engineering), CEO Tane van der Boon (MAUI63 Charitable Trust), Dr Fabrice Stephenson (Waikato University), Associate Professor Leigh Torres (Oregon State University).

Seven Early Career Research Excellence medals have been awarded to:

  • Dr Joanna Hikaka (FMHS)
  • Dr Emma Nolan (FMHS)
  • Dr Rachael Sumner (FMHS)
  • Associate Professor Julia Fehrer (Business & Economics)
  • Dr Yuqian Lu (Engineering)
  • Dr Samuel Mehr (Science)
  • Dr Marie McEntee (Science)

The best thesis winners are:

  • Dr Stephanie Grace Lambie, Science. The next generation of functional nanomaterials: Atomistic control of metal nanostructures as dictated by liquid Ga. Supervisors: Professor Nicola Gaston and Dr Krista Steenbergen
  • Dr Karaponi Okesene-Gafa, FHMS. Obesity and Excess Gestational Weight Gain in Pregnancy - Interventions and Participant Views. Supervisors: Professor Lesley McCowan and Professor Caroline Crowther
  • Dr Maria Christine Treadaway, Arts. Developing and Validating a Diagnostic Language Test for Ab Initio Cadet Pilots. Supervisors: Professor Helen Basturkmen and Emeritus Professor John Read
  • Dr Wenwei (Victor) Wang, Engineering. New Multilevel Converter Topologies for Wireless Power Transfer Systems. Supervisors: Dr Duleepa Thrimawithana and Professor Grant Covic
  • Dr Zhaohan Xiong, Auckland Bioengineering Institute. Deep Learning for Improving the Detection, Prognosis, and Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation. Supervisors: Associate Professor Jichao Zhao, Dr Gonzalo Maso-Talou and Associate Professor Martin Stiles

Media queries: Gilbert Wong,