Our Science Board

Our Science Board is the statutory body responsible for making independent investment decisions for the Endeavour Fund and National Science Challenges.

Board's purpose and criteria

The Science Board’s investments enable New Zealand research organisations to conduct high-quality research that creates economic, social and environmental benefits for New Zealand.

The Board was established by the Minister of Science and Innovation under the Research, Science and Technology Act 2010 on 1 February 2011. The Minister is responsible for the appointment of the Board’s Chair and members.

The Minister also sets the criteria against which the Board makes funding decisions. The criteria are published in the New Zealand Gazette.

Science Board Members

Professor Aidan Byrne (Chair)

Professor Byrne is Provost at the University of Queensland, and was previously the Chief Executive of the Australian Research Council. Professor Byrne completed a BSc and MSc degrees at the University of Auckland. He completed a PhD in Nuclear Physics at the Australian National University, where he later served as Director of College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences and Dean of Science. Professor Byrne spent over two years in Bonn, Germany as a von Humboldt fellow and is a fellow of the Australian Institute of Physics.

Professor Parry Guilford

Professor Guilford is the co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Pacific Edge Ltd, a biotechnology company that specialises in the discovery and commercialisation of diagnostic and prognostic technology for the detection and monitoring of cancer. He is also the Principal Investigator in the Cancer Genetics Laboratory in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Otago. His speciality is research in the genetics of inherited cancer. Professor Guilford holds a PhD in molecular biology from the University of Cambridge. He was awarded the Sir Charles Hercus Medal and the Health Research Council’s Beaven Medal in 2014. He also received the James Cook Fellowship in 2010 and the Richard Belb Award in 2001.

Dr David Wratt QSO

Dr Wratt holds the position of Emeritus Climate Scientist at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) and Adjunct Professor at Victoria University’s Climate Change Research Institute.  He was the Departmental Science Advisor to the Ministry for the Environment. Dr Wratt has a PhD in atmospheric physics from the University of Canterbury, and undertook postdoctoral research at the University of Illinois in the United States of America.  He joined the New Zealand Meteorological Service in 1976, and moved to NIWA when it was formed in 1992. He was the Chief Scientist, Climate at NIWA for 6 years, and has made major contributions to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Dr Jill Vintiner

Dr Vintiner is the Forensic Programme Manager at the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR). With a background in biochemistry, she earned her Doctorate in Molecular Genetics from the University College London. She began her career in clinical genetics research at the Great Ormond Street Hospital, before moving to New Zealand to lead the development of the New Zealand DNA Profile Databank operation. In 2003 Dr Vintiner was appointed the Forensic Research Programme Manager and developed linkages and collaborations with national and international agencies to foster and grow forensic research at ESR.

Dr Andrew McLeod

Dr McLeod leads Douglas Pharmaceuticals Global Dermatology Franchise and is responsible for the company’s Medical Division in New Zealand. He studied Pharmacy at Otago University and completed his PhD in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of California, San Francisco. He returned to New Zealand in 1992 to work at Douglas Pharmaceuticals as a Research Officer and later as a New Product Development Manager. Dr McLeod completed his post-doctoral studies at the University of California, San Francisco followed by employment as a Project Manager at DoW Pharmaceutical Sciences. He returned to Douglas Pharmaceuticals where he took up the position of Director of Research and Development before becoming CEO of Douglas Nutrition Ltd. Dr McLeod has an excellent science background and strong experience using and commercialising science.

Dr Liz Wedderburn

Dr Wedderburn is an Assistant Research Director at AgResearch, where she is responsible for international collaborations, adoption and practice change. She has a PhD in ecology from Glasgow University and 30 years research and management experience in sustainable agriculture within pastoral based livestock systems. Dr Wedderburn’s science expertise is in pastoral ecology, sustainable livestock farming, collaborative processes, systems thinking and land. She is well connected with the international livestock agriculture community including South America, Europe, Asia, Oceania, Africa and Canada.

Dr Jessica Hutchings

Dr Hutchings (Ngāi Tahu, Ngati Huirapa, Gujurati) is  Co-Director of Tiaho Ltd and Tumu Whakarae of the of the Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities National Science Challenge. She is also the Chair of the Rauika Māngai, a cross-Challenge Māori Leadership forum. She was recipient of a Health Research Council Post-Doctoral Fellowship, has a PhD and Masters in Environmental Studies from Victoria University and a Bachelor of Resource Studies from Lincoln University.

She has 25 years of experience in the development and implementation of Māori science strategy which includes building and leading Māori research teams and programs across a wide range of disciplines and science models.

Dr Hutchings leads key kaupapa Māori research initiatives with clear community outreach objectives. She has a particular expertise of working at the interface of science and society and mātauranga Māori and is an award winning author.

Mrs Elizabeth Hopkins

Mrs Elizabeth Hopkins, is a member of the Investment Committee of Kiwinet and Acting Commercial Director at the University of Canterbury. She trained as a research biologist at Oxford University where she investigated the role of genetic inheritance in breast cancer. Mrs Hopkins has over 25 years of experience of successfully transitioning biological research into products in the life science sector. She has held several Director and Chairperson roles on biotechs and state-owned enterprises, and served as CEO of Wool Equities, a NZX listed company. Mrs Hopkins has also served as a senior advisor to MBIE and other government agencies.

Last updated: 12 December 2018