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
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
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
• 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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