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Research Excellence Awards

Informed by leading edge research from a broad range of disciplinary perspectives, Massey researchers have helped to positively shape lives and communities here in New Zealand and around the world.

The recipients of these awards epitomise our values of creativity, innovation and connectedness.

There are four award categories in the Research Excellence Awards section:

  • Individual Research Supervisor
  • Individual Research
  • Early Career Medal
  • Team Research

Research Supervisor Award

College of Sciences
School of Veterinary Science

Distinguished Professor French is described as a supervisorof the highest calibre for his dedication, integrity, warmthand supportiveness. He has supervised 41 PhD students andis currently co-supervising a further seven. He is dedicatedto providing ongoing mentorship and career developmentfor emerging scientists, many of whom have gone on toimpressive careers in academia, international health andgovernment bodies. Three of his previous PhD students arenow full professors and three are associate professors. Asone former student said: “Our university education systemneeds more supervisors like him”. The chief scientist at the New Zealand Food Safety Science and Research Centre, he was made a distinguished professor at Massey in 2018 and was the individual research medal winner in 2012.


College of Sciences
School of Agriculture and Environment

Professor Morel is a national and international expert on pig
growth and nutrition and was chief editor of the Journal and
Animal Feed Science and Technology.
His combined expertise in biological animal systems and
statistics attracts researchers at both junior postdoctoral
and doctoral research funding as project leader from
governmental agencies, producer boards and commercial
companies both in New Zealand and overseas.
He has supervised 20 PhD and 39 other postgraduate students,
a high proportion of them international students. Since joining
Massey in 1990 he has obtained research funding of more than $5.3 million that has supported the research projects of those students, many of whom have become successful academics or researchers in New Zealand and overseas.

   Research Individual  Award

College of Sciences
School of Fundamental Sciences

Professor Cox is one of the world’s foremost authorities on the genetic history of South East 

Asia and the Pacific. His landmark research has triggered major advances in our understanding of human prehistory across the Pacific region, particularly the effects of contact, interaction and adaptation, the nature and extent of genetic mixing between archaic and modern hominins, and the dynamics of social behaviour, language, kinship and genetics. Some of his major breakthroughs have included finding that Asia was at the heart of archaic human diversity, identifying sex biases in the genetic ancestry of the first settlers to reach the remote Pacific, reconstructing the migration processes by which Indonesians initially settled Madagascar, and quantifying for the first time how genetics, kinship and language interact and co-evolve. His work involves the reconstruction of the history of species, not from archaeology or language but from DNA, using complex statistical methods, computational tools and a highly mathematical body of population genetic theory. 

He has been an investigator for four New Zealand centres of research excellence and is currently incoming co-director and a principal investigator of Te Pūnaha Matatini (hosted by the University of Auckland), a principal investigator at the BioProtection Research Centre (hosted by Lincoln University) and associate investigator at the Maurice Wilkins Centre (hosted by the University of Auckland). Since 2009 he has been awarded more than $10 million in external funding, including three back-to-back Marsden Grants. He was the Early Career Research Medal winner in 2010.


Early Career Research Award



College of Health

School of Sport Exercise and Nutrition

Dr Beck is a registered dietitian and senior lecturer in human

nutrition and dietetics based at the Auckland campus. Her

research focusses on optimising health through nutrition,

specifically iron deficiency, sports nutrition, dietary

assessment, and dietary patterns and health outcomes.

She has received more than $2.2 million in competitive

external research funding, has published 39 manuscripts

in international peer-reviewed journals and has published

two book chapters, where she was first author in both. Her

research has been referred to in World Health Organisation

policy documents, and she has co-authored New Zealand

Ministry of Health Food and Nutrition Guidelines.

Early Career Research Award


College of Sciences

School of Natural and Computation Sciences

Dr Liggins is an evolutionary ecologist who primarily uses

molecular genomic methods to address fundamental

questions in biodiversity and ecosystem science, and to

support local communities. Her main academic research

contributions have been in the field of ‘seascape genetics’,

drawing on population genetics, spatial statistics, and marine


Within five years of completing her PhD she has contributed

24 peer-reviewed publications, nearly half her publications

are in the top 10 per cent most-cited worldwide and she has

given 41 research presentations.

Dr Liggins serves on several international working groups

intended to advance theoretical and applied molecular

ecology via multidisciplinary collaboration, and leads New

Zealand’s participation in the Diversity of the Indo-Pacific

Network and coordinates the Ira Moana – Genes of the Sea

project, for which she won an international data stewardship

award last year.


      Exceptional Research Citizenship Whaowhia Ngā Kete O Te Wānanga



College of Sciences
Institute of Natural and Computational Sciences

Based in the school of Natural and Computational Sciences,  Dr Stockin has acted as a change agent in matters concerning marine mammals. Her national and international engagement and capacity-building in emergency response and investigation with Project Jonah, the Department of Conservation and the International Whaling Commission, respectively, alongside her research impact and advocacy with Aotearoa Plastics Pollution Alliance, made her an obvious and deserving nominee for this new medal category based on research citizenship.
In her role as critic and conscience on matters relating to marine mammal welfare and conservation, and in the meaningful relationships with external partnerships
she forms, Dr Stockin has developed exceptional skills in public engagement. She is not only a strong conservation leader and welfare advocate of demonstratable impact nationally, but a true international ambassador for New Zealand.
Her sustained research service to the University extends to mentorship of prospective Rutherford Discovery Fellows and Early Career researchers (she won
the Early Career research medal herself in 2012), as well as her academic sponsorship of postgraduate students via the Australia-New Zealand Student Chapter of the Society for Marine Mammalogy.

Research Team Award

College of Humanities and Social Sciences
School of Psychology

The Joint Centre for Disaster Research team is part of the College

of Humanities and Social Sciences’ School of Psychology. 
The medal recognises the centre as “a multi-disciplinary team with an outstanding national and international reputation” and for its “commitment of all team members to research excellence that connects with the wider society.” Highlights for the team this year included facilitating the first of a national series of workshops following the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Geneva at the Royal Society of New Zealand Te Apārangi in Wellington. The workshops are aimed at connecting New Zealanders to global disaster risk reduction research.
The award entitles the team to a $25,000 grant for research this year. The team comprises team leader Professor David Johnston, Associate Professor Christine Kenney, Dr Raj Prasanna, Dr Emma Hudson-Doyle, Dr Denise Blake, Dr Jane Rovins, Dr Julia Becker, research officers Lucy Kaiser, Emily Lambie and Emily Campbell from the School of Psychology, and Associate Professor Carol Stewart and Dr Suzanne Phibbs from the School of Health Sciences.

Previous winners

Individual Research Supervisor Award

Recipients of the Individual Research Supervisor Award

2016 | Professor Kevin Stafford - Institute of Vet, Animal and Biomedical Sciences

2015 | Professors Regina Scheyvens, Martin Young and Nicolas Lopez-Villalobos

2014 | Professor Cord Heuer

2013 | Professor Steve Morris

2012 | Professor John O'Neill

2011 | Professor Emeritus Mike McManus

2010 | Professor Emeritus Ian Evans

2009 | Professor Hugh Blair

Individual Research Award

Recipients of the Individual Research Award

2016 | Professor Marlena Kruger and Professor Tony Parker

2015 | Professor Glyn Harper

2014 | Distinguished Professor Paul Rainey

2013 | Distinguished Professor Sally Morgan

2012 | Professor Nigel French

2011 | Distinguished Professor Paul Moughan

2010 | Professor Geoff Jameson

2009 | Distinguished Professors Anne Noble and Peter Schwerdtfeger

Early Career Research Award

Recipients of the Early Career Research Award

2016 | Dr David Aguirre, Dr Jodie Hunter and Shannon Te Ao

2015 | David Hayman, Tanya Marriott and Natasha Tassell-Matamua

2014 | Lee Stoner, Philip Steer, Jane Allison and Jason Wargent

2013 | Mary Breheny

2012 | Karen Stockin, Sarah-Jane Paine and Max Schleser

2011 | Lara Shepherd

2010 | Murray Cox and Wayne Patrick

2009 | Aiqian Ye, Leigh Signal and Matthias Lein

Team Research Award

Recipients of the Team Research Award

2016 | Animal Welfare Science and Bioethics Centre

2015 | Bioprotection Research Team

2014 | Centre for Postharvest Refrigeration

2013 | Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health

2012 | Health and Ageing Research Team

2011 | Sleep/Wake Research Centre

2010 | Sheep Research Group

2009 | Volcanic Risk Solutions

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