Outstanding efforts in science research, collaboration and innovation were celebrated at Scion's annual Employee Recognition Awards on Monday.

The awards recognise emerging and established scientists and science teams, as well as support staff, at the Crown research institute, which has its headquarters in Rotorua.

The top award - the Roger Newman Award for Science or Engineering Excellence - was awarded to Dr Grant Pearse, Scion said in a statement.

Dr Pearse developed, tested, and implemented a new set of metrics for LIDAR analysis which resulted in significant gains in predictive precision for forest inventory.


He 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.

Dr Pearse 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.

Dr Suckling 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, Dr Suckling 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 past two years, he 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, Stocchero's research focus is to achieve high-sustainability targets through the use of wood and other biobased materials.

Last year, Stocchero 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.

Stocchero 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. Recently, he worked with Kai Rotorua on living building requirements to benefit the region with regard to healthy eating and health.

Scion chief executive Julian Elder says the awards are important in reinforcing the collaborative nature of the work done by Scion staff.

"It's really wonderful to celebrate the achievements of our staff with both the Rotorua and Christchurch offices. 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 year."

Three of the award winners will also go forward to the Science NZ awards taking place at Parliament buildings on 8 November. Science NZ is the organisation representing the seven Crown research institutes.

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
• Scion Values Award - Ross Anderson
• Highly commended: Dr Wayne Schou
• You Make a Difference Award - Marc Gaugler

* - will attend the Science NZ award ceremony in Wellington on 8 November.