Professor Richie Poulton, who for 23 years was director of the world-renowned Dunedin Study, has died, aged 61.
RNZ and TVNZ are reporting the death, from cancer, today.
Poulton became the study’s deputy director in 1995, before replacing its founder, Dr Phil Silva, as director after Silva’s retirement in 2000.
The Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study began in 1972.
The original plan was to study about 1000 babies born at Dunedin’s Queen Mary Maternity Hospital over one year and then invite them to return for assessment at 3 years old.
In those early days funding and personnel were limited.
A considerable amount of the work was carried out by volunteers and the project struggled to pay the rent.
With more secure funding, the University of Otago study went on to assess the children two-yearly until the age of 15, then at wider intervals after that.
Dunedin Study researchers have published more than 1300 peer-reviewed journal articles, reports and books on many aspects of mental health, physical health and human behaviour.
In 2016, the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development team, led by Poulton, won the Prime Minister’s Science Prize. And in 2017, Poulton was appointed Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
- ODT Online