American award for New Zealand scientist

February 15, 2016 Agencies
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Sir Peter Gluckman, Chief Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of NewZealand,  is the recipient of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Award for Science Diplomacy (2015).

Sir Peter Gluckman being congratulated by Dr Vaughan Turekian Science and Technology Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of State   Photo: Jonathan Seffert NZ Embassy, Washington

Sir Peter Gluckman being congratulated by Dr Vaughan Turekian Science and Technology Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of State Photo: Jonathan Seffert NZ Embassy, Washington

The award recognises Sir Peter’s work “transforming the theory and practice of science advice – an essential component of science diplomacy – by bringing its practitioners together in a global network”.

The award was presented during the AAAS annual meeting in Washington DC which attracted over 10,000 delegates including science policy leaders from most countries. The theme of this year’s meeting, “global science engagement”, makes the science diplomacy award particularly significant.

The AAAS, publisher of the journal Science, established the award in 1992. Previously known as the AAAS International Science Cooperation Award, it was renamed in 2010 recognising the contribution that science can make more broadly to societies globally. Sir Peter is the first recipient outside the United States since the award’s renaming.

“To be recognised internationally by one of the world’s leading organisations devoted to science and science policy is humbling, but I am very proud to see New Zealand recognised for its leading role in these important global conversations,” said Sir Peter.

With a distinguished international career in biomedical research, Sir Peter pioneered the Chief Science Advisor role in New Zealand. The politically independent role seeks to enhance the use of evidence in public policy development and to promote New Zealand’s interests through science diplomacy. In so doing, Sir Peter has played a leading role in defining the emergent principles of science advice to government in modern democracies.

In 2014, at the request of the International Council for Science (ICSU), Sir Peter organised and hosted the world’s first international conference on Science Advice to Governments, which brought together delegations from 44 countries and culminated in the creation of the International Network for Government Science Advice (INGSA), which he now chairs. The network is undertaking a series of capacity building workshops for scientists engaged in policy advice. The next, in Hermanus South Africa on 27-28 February, will bring together participants from 20 African nations. The second INGSA global conference is scheduled for 29-30 September in Brussels, in partnership with the Research Directorate of the European Commission.

Sir Peter’s unique convening power and thoughtful expertise at the science/policy interface has been instrumental also in establishing both the international Small Advanced Economies Initiative (SAEI) and the annual meeting of Chief Science Advisors and Equivalents within the structure of the Asia Pacific Economic Council (APEC).

The SAEI is a policy think-tank platform, comprising Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Israel, New Zealand, Singapore and Switzerland, for the exchange of ideas in science, innovation and economic issues, where policy is constrained by country size. Last year’s APEC leaders’ declaration specifically requested the APEC science advisors to consider how they could collaborate better regarding scientific issues in and around crises and emergencies.

Sir Peter has written and lectured extensively about the principles, practices and challenges of science advice and science diplomacy, including commentaries (, in the scholarly press (The art of science advice to government Nature 507: 163-165; How a Small Country Can Use Science Diplomacy, AAAS Journal of Science and Diplomacy 1(2) 2012), and in named public lectures such as The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS)/AAAS Paulo Budinich Oration Science diplomacy: Opportunities and challenges for small countries. Sir Peter also served as co-chair of the WHO Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity, which delivered its final recommendations to global policy makers in February 2016.

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