Lifetime Achievement Award
Emeritus Professor Roy Daniel has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s KuDos Science Awards. He was presented with the award at the black tie awards evening in Hamilton on Thursday, October 9.
The Lifetime Achievement Award recognises a Waikato scientist whose research has made a major contribution to the Waikato and the international profile of New Zealand science.
Professor Daniel says that, like all endeavours, science has its ups and downs, but this award is primarily a reminder of the constructive and supportive Waikato School of Science environment.
“I’ve been fortunate academically and in friendships among my local and international collaborators, and in the quality and enthusiasm of my graduate research students. And I’ve always had the ongoing support of my family,” he says. “Most of all, the award reminds me of what huge fun it all was.”
Professor Daniel’s work recognised internationally
In a career spanning 38 years at the University of Waikato, Professor Daniel’s work on enzyme properties has been recognised both internationally and within the university where he was awarded a personal Chair in Biological Sciences in 1985 for his research on thermostable enzymes and their commercial implications.
Work by Professor Daniel, a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand, led to a substantial grant for the building and equipping of the university’s Thermophile Research Unit (TRU) where he acted as co-director with Professor Hugh Morgan. During its 32-year existence, the unit has gained an international reputation as a leader in an international network of extremophile research groups.
The applied work of the Thermophile group involved close relationships for more than 30 years with national and international companies including research contracts with British Petroleum, Shell, Liquid Fuels Trust Board, Sandoz, Clariant Biotech, Novo and Carter Holt Harvey. Professor Daniel was instrumental in the formation of Pacific Enzymes Ltd, a joint collaboration with oil company Shell and the Universities of Waikato and Auckland, and in 2004, the formation of ZyGem Ltd.
With both fundamental and applied biochemical research interest in enzyme stability, Professor Daniel has been internationally recognised for his research and has been Primary Investigator on several Marsden Awards, with an A rating in the PBRF assessment. His pioneering work on the way in which temperature affects enzyme activity has been cited in undergraduate and advanced textbooks, and could have a profound influence on future attempts to engineer enzymes and proteins.
Professor Daniel’s 200-plus publications span 47 years and include many high-profile journals. He came to the University of Waikato in 1975 as a lecturer in biochemistry and was made Professor in Biological Sciences in 1984. From 1987-1991, he was the Dean at the University’s School of Science and Technology. On his retirement in 2013, the University awarded him the title of Emeritus Professor.