Four scientists, four winners

4 October 2017

Kudos for web

Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy, Professor Peter Kamp and University Vice-Chancellor Professor Neil Quigley.

University of Waikato earth scientist Professor Peter J.J. Kamp won the Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s KuDos Awards, held to celebrate science excellence in the Waikato region.

Professor Kamp has had a 40-year career as a researcher, lecturer and administrator in the Faculty of Science and Engineering.

He is a specialist in the analysis of sedimentary basins with application to the habitats of petroleum. As part of this work, he and his students have geologically mapped extensive areas of the King Country, eastern Taranaki-northern Whanganui basin and Central Hawke’s Bay; about 18,000 km2 of countryside.

Professor Kamp is also a specialist in several methods of radiometric dating, especially of fission track dating and Uranium-Thorium-Helium dating.  He has used these methods to establish new information about the magnitude and timing of uplift of mountain ranges, including the Southern Alps, the eastern margin of the Tibetan Plateau in China and the southern margin of Tibet.  As a geoscientist he has secured substantial funding from within New Zealand and abroad to undertake his research activity.

Professor Kamp established the University of Waikato’s Energy Research Group. This has two divisions working in the areas of petroleum geology, and in industrial energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions reduction, the latter now led by Dr James Neale (also a KuDos winner).

Three other University of Waikato staff won Kudos awards this year. The Simcro Engineering Science Award went to the University of Waikato Energy Engineering Research Group led by Dr James Neale. Dr Neale and his team are setting the global benchmark for energy-efficiency and emission reduction in milk powder processing plants through the group’s work with Fonterra. Their methodology involves in-plant measurement and analysis, the building of scale experimental models of powder plant components and measuring various parameters, which are then modelled using computational fluid dynamic software to optimise airflow and other design parameters. They have also installed a heat recovery pilot plant on a dairy powder plant to demonstrate the viability of heat recovery from full-scale powder plants.

Associate Professor Karin Bryan shared the inaugural Waikato Regional Council Environmental Science Award. From surf breaks in New Zealand to estuaries in the Mekong Delta, Dr Bryan is helping to conserve and restore important coastal environments.Her research helped establishthe consent assessments and management plans for all of the Waikato’s key coastal environments. This earned her international acclaim and led to her participation in a number of international research collaborations, which in turn have drawn renowned environmental researchers to New Zealand, bringing new techniques to address local issues.

Hill Laboratories Science Manager Award went to Dudley Bell, whose technical management and expertise has been instrumental to outstanding research outcomes for the University of Waikato. Mr Bell developed the first fully functional electrofishing boat (Hiko Hi Ika), which has been integral to the research done on the status of freshwater fish species. He has contributed to more than 100 postgraduate research projects, and as the current Aquatic Team Leader he has advised on projects in terrestrial and marine environments throughout New Zealand and Antarctica.