Rutherford Fellowship to NZAS Councillor Justin Hodgkiss

A New Zealand Association of Scientists Council Member and Victoria University researcher has scooped  one  of this year’s Rutherford Discovery Fellowships.

The Rutherford Discovery Fellowships support New Zealand’s most talented early- to mid-career researchers by providing financial support of up to $200,000 per year over a five-year period to investigate a particular research topic, and help them further their career in New Zealand. Ten awards were announced today, across a very wide range of endeavours.

Dr Justin Hodgkiss has been granted this prestigous award  for a project to engineer solar cells that optimise light harvesting and energy conversion.

NZAS President Dr James Renwick said the Fellowship award  is a significant achievement. 

“The  Rutherford Discovery Awards, set up by the Government last year, will allow some of our best and brightest researchers achieve their potential to make an enormous contribution to New Zealand.

“ NZAS is  pleased and proud that  Justin is a receipent of a 2011 Rutherford Discovery Award”

The fellowships are administered by the Royal Society of New Zealand.

 

About Dr Justin Hodgkiss

Dr Justin Hodgkiss is a lecturer in Physical Chemistry at Victoria University and a Principal Investigator in the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology. He is one of a number of scientists in New Zealand and overseas who are investigating an alternative option of making solar cells from polymers or plastic, in order to make solar energy a viable, low-cost solution, for instance in roofing materials.

Motivated by promise of abundant clean energy at low cost, Dr Hodgkiss is investigating an alternative option of making solar cells from polymers or plastic. He will lead a research programme to develop and exploit advanced laser tools to understand the physics of photocurrent generation and guide the design of more effective solar materials. With the ability to see extremely fast processes using short laser pulses, his team will draw inspiration from natural photosynthesis to artificially engineer solar cells that optimise light harvesting and energy conversion.

Congratulations to all the winners

And congratulations to all the 10 Rutherford fellowship winners. A fellowship substantial enough that it will be able to transform careers. See the full announcement here.