Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods today congratulated the winners
of the 2018 Prime Minister’s Science Prizes.
“It was a privilege to join some of New Zealand’s top scientists to celebrate the 10th year of these prestigious
awards,”Jacinda Ardern said.
“Our Chief Science Advisor’s Meth Report has recently shown the important role that science plays in informing our
policy decisions, and the crucial role that accurate science communication plays.”
Minister Woods congratulated the award winners and their families, supporters, colleagues and friends who have played a
part in their success.
“The recipients have helped to solve some of society’s biggest challenges while encouraging increased curiosity and
understanding of the science system. All the recipients are role models who play a part in inspiring others to become
involved with science,” Megan Woods said.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern awarded the prizes during a celebratory event at Parliament this afternoon. The 2018 award
categories and winners are:
• Prime Minister’s Science Prize: $500,000 – The premier award of the Prime Minister’s Science Prizes has been awarded
to the STRmix™ team, from the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR). The STRmix™ software interprets DNA
material from multiple individuals at a crime scene, and has been used in more than 100,000 cases worldwide.
• Prime Minister’s MacDiarmid Emerging Scientist Prize: $200,000 – Awarded to outstanding emerging scientist, Dr Peng Du
from the Auckland Bioengineering Institute at the University of Auckland. Dr Du’s world leading research helps the
diagnosis and treatment of gut problems.
• Prime Minister’s Science Teacher Prize: $150,000 – Carol Brieseman from Hampton Hill School in Tawa, Wellington has
been awarded the prize for her work to inspire students, teachers and communities. As well as encouraging her students
to ask difficult questions, Ms Brieseman supports and mentors other teachers, and prompts science initiatives across the
• Prime Minister’s Science Media Communication Prize: $100,000 – Won by Professor James Renwick, from Victoria
University of Wellington. Professor Renwick focuses on communicating the science behind climate change to the New
Zealand public. He has undertaken more than 100 public presentations and given more than 200 media interviews on the
• Prime Minister’s Future Scientist Prize: $50,000 – Awarded Finnegan Messerli, a former Onslow College Wellington
student. Finn’s research into the physics problem, why grains of salt form a cone-like pile when poured, will ultimately
help scientists better understand the risks of avalanches and slips.
To find out more about the Prime Minister’s Science Prizes visit the website