Scientists recognised at annual Science NZ awards

Friday 15 Dec 2023

Scion scientists have been celebrated in the annual Science New Zealand awards for work to help cut industrial CO2 emissions, reduce microplastics in the environment, and to connect Māori communities with research and science. Among them is Dr Bing Song.

Song joined Scion in 2019. The following year he was separated from his wife Zhiyan Li by Covid-19 border restrictions. Seeing the adversity as an opportunity he threw himself into his work. The couple would video call each other daily — Song would read research papers in Rotorua and his wife would study English in Hong Kong.

Since joining Scion, he has been a primary author on seven papers and co-authored another five. Of the 35 published papers in his career, 31 have been in Q1 journals – the highest-ranking in a particular field.

Now his work and commitment have been recognised at the annual Science New Zealand awards held at Parliament on December 6. The awards celebrate staff at New Zealand’s seven Crown research institutes, plus Callaghan Innovation, in three categories: Early Career Researcher, Lifetime Achievement and Team.

Song, who won an Early Career Researcher Award, currently leads Scion’s Solid Biofuel Project mentoring colleagues, leading and supporting funding bids, and reviewing papers for journals in his field. He is passionate about the work, which could replace coal and gas in New Zealand industry helping reduce the nearly five million tonnes of CO2 emitted by industry every year.

“To me science is an amazing journey from identifying research challenges to finally achieving the right solutions,” he says. “Science is an essential part of my daily life.” Song has a growing international collaboration network and is currently on a six-month, Scion-funded sabbatical at the University of New South Wales. The sabbatical separates him from his now-Rotorua-based wife again, and their 10-month-old daughter.

Kirk Torr, Scion’s Chemistry and Physics research group leader, says Song “stretched the boundaries” in his field. The other Scion recipients were Scion’s Microplastics Team, given a Team Award for research into marine-based microplastics and Dr Tanira Kingi who was given an Individual/Lifetime Achievement Award for his more than 30-year career.

Science New Zealand Chief Executive Anthony Scott says the Awards “celebrate the people creating and applying ideas that are useful, usable and used in Aotearoa New Zealand. The event celebrates excellence in science, its application to real world issues, and the partnerships we have with clients and collaborators in many industries and sectors that make things happen.”

He says the members of Science NZ “deliver results that tangibly improve the prosperity, sustainability and wellbeing of New Zealand”. For the full list of winners from New Zealand’s CRIs see

Source: Scion

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