Monday, February 26, 2024

Primary sector scientists awarded prestigious medals

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Three leading research lights in soil and nutrient research have picked up top awards at this year’s Research Honours Aotearoa for their contributions to soils, water and nutrient technology.
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Professors Keith Cameron and Hong Di were awarded the esteemed Pickering medal for the commercial and scientific contribution their technology offers for dealing with one of dairying’s biggest problems.

Three leading research lights in soil and nutrient research have picked up top awards at this year’s Research Honours Aotearoa for their contributions to soils, water and nutrient technology.

Longtime Lincoln University professor Dr Keith Cameron and his colleague Professor Jong Di were awarded the Pickering Medal by the Royal Society Te Aparangi for their work in inventing new technology for treating dairy farm effluent to recycle water and reduce phosphate and E.coli losses.

The Pickering medal is awarded to researchers or research teams who have through design or invention performed innovative technological work significant in its influence and recognition, or which could lead to significant commercial success.

The innovative effluent technology developed by the researchers was recently unveiled at Lincoln University dairy farm.

The EcoPond system, developed in conjunction with Ravensdown, is proven to reduce dairy effluent pond methane emissions by 99.9%.

E.coli and phosphate are also reduced by 99% in effluent systems through a 100% natural biological process.

Methane losses from farm effluent ponds are the second-largest source of on-farm methane emissions after cows.

At the EcoPond launch the researchers were hailed by Ravensdown chair John Henderson for creating a “masterful” piece of tech that met all the needs of farmers in terms of being easy, simple and cost-effective.

He also signalled it was the first of several other initiatives in the pipeline with Lincoln researchers.

Professor Rich McDowell of AgResearch and chief scientist of the National Science Challenge was a recipient of the Hutton Medal for outstanding contributions to nutrient flow knowledge in water and soil.

The medal recognises outstanding work by a researcher in New Zealand in the fields of earth, plant and animal sciences.

His work has demonstrated how contaminants move across land into water and options for mitigating losses of those contaminants to waterways.

His work has been used as a foundation for much of the policy work on nutrient management. Earlier this year he was also appointed editor in chief of the Journal of the Royal Society of NZ.

Since 2014, McDowell has led a team of 200 scientists building interdisciplinary teams that have encompassed Māori partners, social researchers and conventional science fields.

He also sits on science advisory panels and boards, including at Queen’s University Belfast and the OECD temperate agriculture network.

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