A leading New Zealand chemistry professor has scooped up a global award for being an outstanding achiever in her field. Professor Margaret Brimble of the University of Auckland was named as one of this year's Distinguished Women in Chemistry or Chemical Engineering.

She is the first New Zealander to be named for the award.

The biennial awards, which honour prominent women chemists from around the world, were handed out by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry.

Former winners have come from a wide range of countries including Italy, Poland, the USA, UK and China.

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The awards are designed to acknowledge and promote the work of women chemists and chemical engineers and awardees are selected based on excellence in research, teaching and leadership.

Prof Brimble has been previously named the 2007 L'Oreal-Unesco Women in Science laureate in materials science for Asia Pacific and won the 2008 World Class New Zealand Award and the 2014 Westpac Trust Women on Influence Award in the Science and Technology sector.

Prof Brimble said she was "delighted" to accept the award.