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GNS Science pair line up for 2016 Tech Valley Awards - 27/05/2016

 Two researchers at GNS Science have been named as finalists in the 2016 Technology Valley Awards.

The Hutt City Council sponsored awards, now in their second year, celebrate the best talent in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and manufacturing in Lower Hutt.

GNS Science isotope chemist Karyne Rogers is a finalist in the Outstanding STEMM Educator category and nanotechnology scientist Jerome Leveneur is a finalist in the Outstanding Individual category.  Both work at GNS Science’s National Isotope Centre at Gracefield, Lower Hutt.

Jerome Leveneur and Karyne Rogers have been named as finalists in the 2016 Tech Valley Awards. Photo - Margaret Low, GNS Science.

Jerome Leveneur and Karyne Rogers have been named as finalists in the 2016 Tech Valley Awards. Photo - Margaret Low, GNS Science. See more images in our visual media library http://vml.gns.cri.nz/

Dr Rogers is a strong advocate for making science accessible to local communities through school and public engagement activities.  During the past 10 years she has worked hard to build up a number of successful science outreach events, particularly in the Hutt Valley.

This includes the monthly Café Scientifique held at Wholly Bagels in Lower Hutt and the bimonthly Hot Tales Cool Science held at the Lower Hutt War Memorial Library.  She initiated the annual school open day at GNS Science’s National Isotope Centre, where senior students and teachers from Hutt Valley schools are invited to spend half a day seeing applied science and learning about career pathways in science.

Dr Rogers and her outreach team have also won funding from the government’s prestigious Unlocking Curious Minds initiative to deliver earth science programmes through community libraries.

“This has enabled primary-age children from low decile areas to participate in hands-on activities and have fun learning about earthquakes, volcanoes, fossils, and dinosaurs to increase their awareness and knowledge of earth science,” she said.

Dr Rogers added it was wonderful that the outreach work she undertakes on behalf of GNS Science had been recognised in this way and that it was well supported by the local community.

“I am very grateful for an enthusiastic and like-minded team of scientists at GNS Science who help me to deliver science to schools and at public events.  I believe our education programmes help make a big difference to growing public awareness of Earth Science and issues affecting the world around us.”

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It is especially heartening that our staff are being recognised for excellence in such a broad spectrum of activities that includes the sharp end of materials science as well as nurturing
and encouraging the next generation of scientists

Dr Neal Wai Poi

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Jerome Leveneur works in the Environment and Materials division of GNS Science’s National Isotope Centre where he leads teams who research and develop surface coatings, novel sensors, and advanced surface modifications.

A good deal of this work is accomplished at the nano-scale. For instance, some of the surface coatings that Dr Leveneur’s team develops are 1000 times thinner than a human hair, yet they result in new or enhanced properties such as water repellence, super hardness, and improved corrosion resistance.

Applications for this work include industries such as high value manufacturing, building safety and security, medicine, agriculture, and energy production.

Dr Leveneur said the awards were an amazing opportunity to showcase the activities of GNS Science in terms of research, development and innovation, in particular through the work of the Materials Science team.

“I hope this will open the door to further interactions and collaboration with the rich STEMM community in the Hutt."

GNS Science Acting Chief Executive, Neal Wai Poi, said it was great to see staff being publicly acknowledged in the community in which they work.

"It is especially heartening that our staff are being recognised for excellence in such a broad spectrum of activities that includes the sharp end of materials science as well as nurturing and encouraging the next generation of scientists," Dr Wai Poi said.

The awards will be presented at gala dinner in Lower Hutt on June 9.