Alert Newsletter: Issue 564

1. 2009 Elections for Royal Society Council

Elections for two positions on the Royal Society Council will be held by electronic ballot in May 2009. The positions are those of the Vice-President (International) and the Vice-President (Biological and Life Sciences).

Nominations must be submitted, by 5.00 p.m. on Friday, 17 April 2009, on the prescribed nomination form.

Every Companion and financial Member of the Society is entitled to vote for the Vice-President (International) and those eligible to vote in the Biological and Life Sciences Electoral Colleges are entitled to vote for the Vice-President (Biological and Life Sciences).

For more information and nomination forms visit

2. New Zealand Post-Doctoral Fellowships

The Rutherford Foundation of the Royal Society of New Zealand is pleased to offer two New Zealand post-doctoral fellowship awards to outstanding New Zealand researchers.

The awards are for two years each, providing an annual salary of $65,000, plus $25,000 research costs and $5,000 for conference travel. These fellowships are supported by the New Zealand government.

The deadline for applications is 30th June 2009.

Eligibility criteria, application guidelines and forms are available from

3. New Science Book Prize for Writers and Publishers – shortlist announced

The Royal Society of New Zealand Science book Prize was established in December to celebrate the very best in the popular science book genre. The prize is $10,000 for the author(s) and $2,500 for the publisher.

The five shortlisted titles for the 2009 Royal Society of New Zealand Science Book Prize are:

The Awa Book of New Zealand Science, edited by Rebecca Priestley (Awa Press)
Falling for Science, by Bernard Beckett (Longacre Press)
Hot Topic, by Gareth Renowden (AUT Media)
In Search of Ancient New Zealand, by Hamish Campbell and Gerard Hutching (Penguin)
Wetlands of New Zealand, by Janet Hunt (Random House)

Professor Richard Dawkins (author of The Selfish Gene and other popular science books) will announce the overall winner during a live video conference between New Zealand and the UK, at the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival on Friday 15 May 2009.

The judges are: Professor Jean Fleming, Professor Harry Ricketts and Professor Brian Boyd.

See for more information, book descriptions and author biographies or contact Faith Atkins on 021 177 8779 or 04 470 5781.

4. Einstein’s Universe, 1-8 April

Professor Brian Foster of Oxford University and violinist Jack Liebeck combine science and music in ‘Einstein’s Universe’, a lecture highlighting Einstein’s love of the violin and how his ideas have shaped our modern view of the universe.

Lecture details are as follows:
Auckland, 7.00 p.m. Wednesday 1 April – Auditorium, Auckland Museum, Domain Drive
Palmerston North, 5.30 p.m. Thursday 2 April – Japan Lecture Theatre, Massey University, Tennent Drive
Wellington, 7.00 p.m. Friday 3 April – Soundings Theatre, Te Papa Museum, Cable Street
Nelson, 7.00 p.m. Saturday 4 April – Waimea College, Salisbury Road, Richmond,
Christchurch, 7.30 p.m. Tuesday 7 April – Great Hall, The Arts Centre, Worcester Boulevard
Dunedin, 7.00 p.m. Wednesday 8 April – St David Lecture Theatre, cnr St David & Cumberland Streets.

Einstein’s Universe is sponsored by The University of Auckland, Massey University, The MacDairmid Institute, The Nelson Science Society, the University of Canterbury and the University of Otago.

For more information visit

5. Nominations called for 2009 Loder Cup

Nominations are called for the 2009 Loder Cup, New Zealand’s premier conservation award.

The Loder Cup was donated in 1926 by Gerald Loder. The Cup is awarded annually to the person, group of people, or organisation which has excelled above all other nominees in furthering the aims and objects of the donor of the Cup. The Minister of Conservation appoints the Loder Cup Committee that awards the Cup.

Any person, group of people, or organisation can be nominated for the award by any of the following organisations:

Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture and any society affiliated hereto;
Royal Society of New Zealand and any society affiliated hereto;
New Zealand Universities;
Nursery and Garden Association;
New Zealand Recreation Association and any society affiliated hereto;
Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society and any society affiliated hereto;
New Zealand Conservation Authority and any Conservation Board;
New Zealand Botanical Society;
Any private person through one of the above-mentioned organisations.

Each nomination will be considered for two years in a row unless they win the Cup or the nominating body withdraws the nomination.

Only one nomination can be accepted from each organisation that is entitled to nominate. Nominations close at 4.00 p.m. on Thursday 21 May 2009.

For further information and application forms contact Eddie Davis, Royal Society of New Zealand, Email.

6. FUSIONZ Science Jobs

This week, Fusionz has 9 vacancies for jobs. The latest jobs are

Postdoctoral Fellow/Assistant Research Fellow: Dunedin
Biochemist: North Island
Fibre Processing Scientist: North Island
Science Interns: NZ
Portfolio Manager x3: NZ
General Manager of Science: NZ
Pathology Applications Experts: Auckland
PhD research opportunity: Tussock grassland carbon dynamics: NZ
Postdoctoral Fellow – Resource Economics: North Island

More at

7. High Performance Computing for Research -Survey

The Ministry of Research, Science and Technology is conducting a survey about High Performance Computing in research.

This survey is available by registering at

The responses to this survey will assist MoRST to advise the government on the types of HPC usage, and requirements for HPC, among researchers. The hope is to gain insights into the potential benefits to research, of HPC and E-research.

The survey is aimed at researchers working ‘at the bench’ rather than at institutional level, and usually takes about 8-10 minutes. It need not be completed in one go – it can be saved and resumed later. People do not need to complete the whole survey – only parts relevant to them. Please forward the link to colleagues so more people know about this opportunity to have a say about their HPC needs and usage.

8. Workshop: Cultural Identities in a Globalising World, Wellington, 17 April 2009

Cultural Identities in a Globalising World He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata! Will be held at The Auditorium, Level 3, Ministry for Social Development, Bowen State Building, Bowen Street, Wellington on Friday 17 April 2009.

This workshop will be of interest to social researchers in universities, CRIs, private research agencies and central and local government as well as policy analysts and community organisations. Panels will consider recent research, the positions of different stakeholders and ongoing, planned and possible responses by government agencies, NGOs and local bodies.

Some support is available to facilitate the attendance of representatives of community organisations and postgraduate students. Registrations are due by 3 April 2009.

A workshop organised by The Social and Human Sciences Sub-Commission, New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO, The Royal Society of New Zealand (RSNZ) and Building Research Capability in the Social Sciences (BRCSS).

Full details, programme of the day and registration information are available at or contact Jessie McKenzie, email

9. Seminar: Renewable Energy Uptake in New Zealand Cities, Wellington, 1 April

Dr Eric Martinot will give a seminar entitled Renewable Energy Uptake in New Zealand Cities The Vision and Barriers, in Lecture Theatre 1, Old Government Buildings, Stout Street, Wellington on Wednesday, 1 April, 5.30-7.30 p.m.

Dr. Martinot is Senior Research Director with the Tokyo-based Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies (ISEP), Senior Research Fellow with the US World Watch Institute and a lead author and research director of the widely-used REN21 Renewables Global Status Report.

The seminar is organised by the School of Government and The Institute of Policy Studies of Victoria University in association with The New Zealand Centre for Sustainable Cities.

The seminar will provide a three-fold focus on Issues, Inquiries, and Ideas, as part of delivering on the School’s commitment to public discussion, academic and practitioner interaction, and robust internal exploration of issues of public policy, public management and research excellence.

For more information visit

10. UK to NZ mission on Extremophiles, 23 – 26 March 2009, New Zealand

A UK to NZ mission on Extremophiles will be held in New Zealand 23-26 March 2009.

Monday 23 March – Wellington: National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), Allen Building Board Room, 301 Evans Bay Parade, Hataitai, Wellington.

Wednesday 25 March – Hamilton: Hotel Ibis, 18 Alma Street, Hamilton.

Thursday 26 March – Rotorua: Site visit – tour of thermal activity at Waiotapu Thermal Park and visit to Scion.

The intent of the mission will be to pursue collaborative research agreements that should lead to commercial exploitation within a reasonable time frame. They will facilitate individual discussions with New Zealand organisations, with a view to moving towards agreements involving one or more of:
collaborative research, covering IP discovery and use and providing templates for business collaboration (even if the research is in the pre-competitive stage);
inward or outward investments;
sales or purchases of IP or products.

This mission is sponsored by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office through its Small Projects funds1.

For more information contact Steve Thompson, British High Commission, Tel (04) 924 2833.

11. Our Changing World, Tonight 9.00 pm, Radio New Zealand National

Alison Ballance and Veronika Meduna, email Tel (04) 474 1910.

Kakapo scientists Ron Moorhouse and Graham Elliott reflect on how science and evolutionary theory have helped increase kakapo numbers.

A new scientific paper identifies a growing number of threatened plants in New Zealand, and sounds alarm bells about the future of plants such as kakabeak.

Wellington secondary school students compete in a ‘Physics Fight’.

Gordon Ell’s latest book suggests ways to attract birds and other wildlife to suburban gardens.

Shorter science, health and environment features also air during Afternoons with Jim Mora at 3.45 p.m., Monday to Thursday. The programme is repeated at 1.10 a.m. on Sunday mornings.

You can download a podcast or listen to streaming audio of programmes you’ve missed in the complete programme archive at:


Each week, new entries or changes to existing ones will be included in Alert but for a complete listing of events go to


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