Science excellence awarded at Scion awards

Posted on Thursday 15th November 2018

Outstanding efforts in science research, collaboration and innovation were celebrated at Scion’s

annual Employee Recognition Awards last month.


The awards recognise both emerging and established scientists and science teams, as well as

support staff at the Crown research institute, headquartered in Rotorua.


Scion’s top award – the Roger Newman Award for Science or Engineering Excellence – was

presented to Dr Grant Pearse.


Grant developed, tested and implemented a new set of metrics for LIDAR analysis, which resulted in

significant gains in predictive precision for forest inventory. Grant has spearheaded two other major

pieces of research that are likely to have an enduring impact on the forest industry, in the areas of

inventory costs and managing red needle cast. He was also the lead author on two papers and is a

co-author on three further papers that have been submitted to some of the highest-calibre remote

sensing journals.


The award recognises the late Dr Roger Newman who was a principal scientist at Scion, particularly

in the areas of nuclear magnetic radiation (NMR) and spectroscopy.


Acknowledged for his 40 years in science, Dr Ian Suckling was the recipient of the Individual/Lifetime

Achievement Award.



Ian began his career at the then Forest Research Institute as a scientist in the Wood Chemistry

Group and progressed to leadership roles in areas covering fibre cement pulp, fibre optimisation and

biofibre products. In 2010-2012 Ian represented New Zealand in the international bioenergy sector,

specifically on commercialising liquid biofuels from biomass. During 2013-14 he led a $13.5 million

programme co-funded by the MPI Primary Growth Partnership, Norske Skög Tasman and Z Energy,

with Scion providing research and technology support. Over the last two years, Ian has led the ‘New

Zealand Biofuels Roadmap’ project.


Andrea Stocchero received the Emerging Scientist or Engineering Award, in recognition of his

significant contribution to the timber, building and design industries.


As Scion’s only sustainable architect, Andrea’s research focus is to achieve high sustainability targets

through the use of wood and other bio-based materials. Last year, Andrea was invited to speak at

the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation representing New Zealand and the international timber

design and construction sector, and in February this year he presented at a follow-up meeting in

Rome. Andrea is also part of the Toitū te Kāinga, Toitū te Ora, Toitū te Tangata (Sustainable Homes,

Healthy People) project led by Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology for the Te Whaiti community and

recently he worked with Kai Rotorua on living building requirements to benefit the region with

regard to healthy eating and health.


Scion CEO Julian Elder says the awards are important in reinforcing the collaborative nature of the

work that Scion staff do.


“It’s really wonderful to celebrate the achievements of our staff with both the Rotorua and

Christchurch offices,” he says. “Oftentimes we can get caught up in the day-to-day doing of the

work but it is important to stop and take stock of just what our people are achieving from year to



Full list of winners:


• Roger Newman Award for Science or Engineering Excellence – Dr Grant Pearse


• Individual/Lifetime Achievement Award – Dr Ian Suckling


• Emerging Scientist or Engineering Award – Andrea Stocchero


• Science Impact Award – Ligate team (Ross Anderson, Sylke Campion, Dr Nancy Garrity, Dr Warren Grigsby, Rob Lei, Dr Kelly Melia, Dr Karl Murton, Dr Bernadette Nanayakkara, Diahanna O'Callahan, Ian Simpson, Maxine Smith, Armin Thumm, Daniel van de Pas)


• Scion External Customer Engagement Award – Biofuels Roadmap Team (Dr Paul Bennett, Dr

              Ferran de Miguel Mercader, Peter Hall, Dr Juan Monge, Dr Ian Suckling, Sandra Velarde, Dr

              Steve Wakelin, and the Marketing and Communications Team). Highly commended – Dr

              Simeon Smaill


• Science Eminence Award – Dr Eckehard Brockerhoff


• Scion Support Excellence Award – Marketing and Communications team (Christl McMillan, Greg Scott, Lisa Tovey, Kylie Gunn, Dale Corbett, Dr Michelle Harnett and Rina Joy)


• Scion Values Award – Ross Anderson. Highly commended – Dr Wayne Schou


• You Make a Difference Award – Marc Gaugler.

Dr Ian Suckling, winner of the Individual/Lifetime Achievement Award. Photo: Tracey Robinson.

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