Brightest minds shine in Kudos Science Awards

Paul Champion’s work tackles the wicked problem of weedy waterways. He is a finalist for the Waikato Regional Council Environmental Science Award. Photo: Kudos.

The originality and diversity of Waikato and Bay of Plenty’s brightest minds is evident in the finalists selected for the 2021 Kudos Science Excellence Awards.

Finalists this year range from world-leading robotic harvesting technology that uses Time of Flight technology, computer vision and machine learning to selectively harvest asparagus; to research clarifying the link between silica-rich marine ecosystems and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, with big implicationsfor climate change.

Altogether, 20 incredible finalists are in the running to receive one of eight awards at the gala event of New Zealand’s premier regional science excellence awards, held in Hamilton in September.

Kudos Science Trust CEO Soteria Ieremia says the calibre of the finalists is world-class, and the work they are doing is of vital importance to the continuing growth of science and innovation in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty.

“These nominees range from people actively working to bring science education to life in our schools, to those improving health outcomes in our local communities," says Soteria.

“From producing nanocellulose products from seaweed as a sustainable alternative to petroleum-based plastics, to improving the productivity and health of cattle through exploring key genetic variants in the bovine genome, these finalists are combining cutting-edge science with innovative thinking to tackle real world issues.

“We look forward to recognising these amazing thinkers for their talent and hard work at the 2021 Kudos Science Excellence Awards ceremony.”

Chair of the Kudos Science Trust, Professor Ross Lawrenson adds that the awards, which have taken place since 2007, play an important part in expanding the region’s reputation as a thriving hub of science.

“We’re thankful for the continuing support of our sponsors and to everyone who made a nomination for their contribution to strengthening our scientific community.

“Congratulations to all of the finalists. We look forward to announcing the winners and celebrating their success at the awards dinner,” says Lawrenson.

Tickets for the 2021 Kudos Awards Annual Gala Dinner, taking place at Claudelands Event Centre on Thursday 30 September, are available at

The finalists of the 2021 Kudos Science Excellence Awards are:

Wintec Secondary Science Teacher/Educator Award

Mrs Chris Duggan

Mr Jason Morgan

Ms Fiona Wolff

Hamilton City Council Emerging Scientist Award

Dr Megan Grainger

Dr Terry Issons

Dr Anica Klockars

Hill Laboratories Primary Industries Award

Agresearch Life Cycle Assessment Team

Prof Mathew Littlejohn

Scion/Agrisea Nanocellulose from Seaweed Team


Dr Leandro Bolzoni

Dr Shen Hin Lim

Waikato Regional Council Environmental Science Award

Assoc Prof Kura Paul-Burke

Paul Champion

Dr Charles Lee

Waikato DHB Medical Science Award

Dr Etuini Ma’u

Assoc Prof Bridgette Masters-Awatere

Assoc Prof Joseph Baker

University of Waikato Vision Mātauranga Award

Assoc Prof Bridgette Masters-Awatere

Assoc Prof Kura Paul-Burke

The Kudos Lifetime Achievement Award

The winners will be announced at the awards dinner which has been postponed, due to the Covid lockdown, until December 2.

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