Tag Archives: awards

EPECentre GREEN Grid team scoops awards at EEA conference

Congratulations to two EPECentre team members who won awards at the recent EEA conference held in Wellington from 22-24 June.

Ben Jar won the best student paper award, for his paper on electric vehicle rapid chargers, and Dr Sharee McNab won a merit award in best paper for her presentation of a paper investigating the economics of photovoltaic solar power by region in New Zealand.

Ben Jar worked with the GREEN Grid team at the EPECentre on a summer scholarship, supervised by Dr Allan Miller and Professor Neville Watson, building a rapid DC charger for electric vehicles.

The project was also supported by Northpower who purchased the equipment for the charger. Dr McNab is a senior research engineer with the EPECentre, and co-wrote a paper with EPECentre Director, Dr Allan Miller, investigating the economics and potential uptake of PV solar power in New Zealand regions.

The EPECentre had a large presence at the conference, with 10 papers on GREEN Grid topics, which in addition to the above papers, included a paper on a new guideline for connecting PV solar power to the grid, a tool developed by the EPECentre to enable electricity distribution companies understand how much PV solar power local networks can accommodate, power quality trends from new technologies, and a model for use in future GREEN Grid investigations into the impact of wind generation on grid stability.

GREEN Grid is a six year research programme to look at increasing the amount of renewable energy in New Zealand. It is funded by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, Transpower and the EEA. The University of Canterbury EPECentre is the lead researcher in the project, led by Dr Allan Miller.

EPECentre pic crop

Dr Sharee McNab and Ben Jar.

VC Awards – two weeks to go!

Are you a General staff member?  Are you on a continuing contract? If yes to both, then you are eligible to apply – don’t miss out! Entries close at 5pm Friday 29 July 2016.

The Vice Chancellor General Staff Awards are held yearly to recognize and assist exceptional professional development initiatives within our General Staff population.

So, if you are:

  • Attending a conference in Australasia
  • Presenting a paper to a conference anywhere in the world
  • Wanting to attend specialist training, or staff exchanges
  • Visiting another educational institution
  • Studying

Then you should consider applying for an award.

Further information, including the criteria can be found here.
Instructions on applying for the award can be found here.
All other information can be found here.

Please get in touch with the Learning and Development team for further information. Email learningdevelopment@canterbury.ac.nz

2016 Prime Minister’s Science Prizes Now Open

Are you one of New Zealand’s world-leading researchers or communicators in the science and technology sector?

Entries for the 2016 Prime Minister’s Science Prizes are now open. The prizes, worth a combined value of $1 million across five categories, aim to raise the profile and prestige of science among New Zealanders.

A key change for the major $500,000 prize is a greater emphasis on the impact of the research in New Zealand or internationally by the winning entry.

Another change will see the MacDiarmid Emerging Scientist prize, worth $200,000, open to outstanding scientists who have completed their PhD in the previous eight years.

Revised criteria also broaden the scope for science communicators, with this year’s Prime Minister’s Science Communication Prize open to practising scientists, who are excellent communicators, and others who have developed expertise in communicating complex scientific or technological information to the public.

For more information please visit: www.pmscienceprizes.org.nz


Q&A with Dr Ben Kennedy

As a follow-up to the 2016 UC Teaching Awards, we will be profiling  some of the winners to see what drives them to do what they do. First up is Dr Ben Kennedy, Senior Lecturer in Physical Volcanology.

Q: What are your areas of interest?
A: I teach a second year course called Rocks Minerals and Ores, as well as third and fourth year Magmatic systems and Volcanology courses. I also teach field trips where we get to take students into the mountains, along the coast and up volcanoes.

Q: What are the highlights of your career?
A: Prior to teaching at UC, I worked as a teaching learning fellow at the University of British Columbia with Nobel Laureate Carl Wieman. I was lucky enough to spend a full year learning how to teach, how to research teaching, and how to spread the word about the benefits of good teaching. Since arriving at UC seven years ago, together with Erik Brogt and an enthusiastic team from the Department of Geological Sciences, I have received several big grants from Ako Aotearoa to promote active learning, science communication role plays, and research learning in virtual and real fieldtrips.

Q: What is your teaching philosophy?
A: To focus on the students and to have fun using innovative teaching techniques that have been rigorously proven to increase learning.

Q: What do you love most about teaching?
A: All geologists love fieldwork, and I love watching students becoming part of the geology family, there is nothing like seeing rocks in action to excite and bond teachers and students alike. It is amazing to see the transformation a fieldtrip can have. An awkward group of second year geology students that don’t really know each other or what their future holds can be transformed in a week into best friends and geologists for life.

Q: Do you have any stand-out teaching moments you would like to share?
A: It has been wonderful to have been at UC long enough to see longer term transformations. I can think of one student (she will know who she is!) who started out at UC, shy, not outdoorsy, and not confident in her academic abilities – now she is an expert in her field, she hikes up and down volcanoes, jumps in and out of helicopters, she blows stuff up, appears on TV and advises DOC and GNS Science on volcanic hazards, and she has become a great teacher and mentor to other students.

ben yasur eruption2Ben watches volcanic activity from the crater of  Mount Yasur, Tanna Island, Vanuatu.



Apply Now! VC Staff Development and Health, Safety and Wellbeing Awards

The 2016 round of the University of Canterbury Health, Safety & Wellbeing Awards open Monday 27 June.

Applications also open on Monday 27 June for the 2016 round of the Vice-Chancellor General Staff Development Awards. Visit the Vice-Chancellor General Staff Development Awards webpage for full details and the application form.

Applications for both awards close on Friday 29 July 2016.

For further information, please contact learningdevelopment@canterbury.ac.nz