'Making a difference': Antarctic researchers honoured

Gary Wilson Table Mountain Photo Nicole Stahlman small
18 November 2021

Professor Gary Wilson has been awarded the Thomson Medal by Royal Society Te Apārangi for his leadership in developing New Zealand's international profile in Antarctic Research.

The Thomson Medal is awarded for outstanding contributions to the organisation, support, and application of science, technology and the humanities.

Gary is currently Chief Scientist and General Manager Research, Strategy and Partnerships at GNS Science.

Through his roles as Director of the New Zealand Antarctic Research Institute, Chief Scientific Advisor at Antarctica New Zealand and New Zealand Delegate to the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, Gary has provided important and strategic leadership for the New Zealand Antarctic Research Programme.

These programmes supported more than 100 New Zealand researchers and research students to conduct research in many frontier areas and present their findings at the highest international level.

Through representation at international fora, Gary helped develop high profile collaborations with Antarctic programmes in South Korea, Italy, Germany, Chile, Australia, South Africa and China.

Between 2012 and 2017, Gary was the inaugural director of the New Zealand Antarctic Research Institute (NZARI) - a public-private partnership that provided more than $7 million in grants from philanthropists and industry for New Zealand Antarctic researchers.

NZARI built a strategic direction for New Zealand's Antarctic research that was focused on significant global challenges where Antarctica was the key - such as climate change, ice sheet loss, loss of biodiversity and marine protection.

Meanwhile, Dr Kyle Clem and Dr Laura Revell have also been recognised by the Royal Society Te Apārangi for their Antarctic Early Career Research.

Dr Clem has been awarded the Hamilton Award for his research on the warming of the remote interior of Antarctica. Dr Revell received the Cooper Award for her modelling work and pioneering research on understanding how microplastics might impact the Earth's climate.

For more on the award recipients visit: 2021 Research Honours Aotearoa winners (royalsociety.org.nz)