MacDiarmid Institute Annual Symposium and Future Leaders' Programme 2021

News & events

MacDiarmid Institute Annual Symposium and Future Leaders' Programme 2021

Feb 9, 2021 - 2pm
Feb 12, 2021 - 3pm
Holiday Inn Rotorua
10 Tryon Street
Rotorua 3010

Event details

Our 2020 Annual Symposium and Future Leaders' Programme (which would normally be held in November) will take place early next year in Rotorua at the Holiday Inn, 9 - 12 February 2021. Please note that this is an internal event available to MacDiarmid Institute participants only.

We understand that the loss of in-person conferences has been a significant issue for MacDiarmid Institute completing students, and so we want to run this as a full conference with parallel, themed sessions.

Given the Covid-19 pandemic, we recognise that it is extremely important to adhere best practices advised by the Ministry of Health, and the New Zealand government. For this reason, we are planning an event that can take place under Alert Level 2 restrictions if required. In practical terms, this means that in-person attendance will be limited to less than 100 people (with online streaming of talks), appropriate contact tracing, and physical distancing requirements will be observed. Equipment will be cleaned between presentations if necessary, and activities such as buffets will be avoided. In the event of an outbreak, it is also a possibility for the event to be postponed or cancelled at short notice.

The Programme Committee is pleased to announce the three science themes, as well as talks for Science & Society and Commericalisation & Industry for the MacDiarmid Institute Annual Symposium & Future Leaders' Programme 2021:

  • Future Computing and Tomorrow’s Electronic Devices
  • Materials for Sustainability – Towards Zero Carbon
  • Novel Materials and Advanced Characterisation

Themes will be run each day with parallel sessions with keynote speakers at the start and end of each day. 

Digital Abstracts Book 

Speaker Biographies

Associate Professor Catherine M. Bishop

Untitled designAssociate Professor Bishop earned her PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from MIT in 2003 before moving to the Department of Materials at the University of Oxford for a postdoc and Career Development Fellowship. She joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Canterbury in 2008.

Her research focuses on phase transformations, thermodynamics and microstructural evolution with applications in functional materials, alloys, thin films and molten oxide electrolysis. She currently leads the Materials Cluster@UC, a large network of materials researchers at the University of Canterbury.


Diane Bradshaw

DianeDiane Bradshaw is from the Ngāti Te Wehi, Ngāti Mahuta hapū of Waikato Tainui, Te Uri o Hau ki Te Rarawa iwi. Diane is Stakeholder Relations Partner Iwi at our Partner GNS Science, where she is based at the Wairakei Research Centre in Taupō.






Professor Jared Cole

1 v8Professor Cole is a physicist specialising in quantum theory and condensed-matter physics, and its application in nanoscale devices. He specialises in using mathematical and computational models to describe the design and operation of nanoscale sensors, low noise electronics and quantum computers.

Jared is leader of the Theoretical Chemical and Quantum Physics Research group at RMIT University and is a chief investigator in the Australian Research Council Centres of Excellence in Exciton Science and Future Low-Energy Electronics Technologies.



Professor Michelle Coote 

2 v6Professor Coote completed a Ph.D. in polymer chemistry at the University of NSW in 2000. Following postdoctoral work in polymer physics at the University of Durham, UK, she joined the Australian National University in 2001, initially as a postdoctoral fellow in computational chemistry.

She is now an ARC Laureate Fellow, an Associate Editor of JACS, and an elected fellow of the Australian Academy of Science. Her group uses theory and experiment to design new synthetic methods and catalysts, with an emphasis on non-traditional methods of bond activation using electricity and light.


Dr Humphrey Feltham

Untitled design v4Dr Feltham has been a member of the chemistry team at Ligar Limited Partnership since 2019, helping to develop polymers for the separation of valuable or unwanted compounds from solution. Before moving to Ligar, Humphrey earnt his PhD in chemistry from the University of Otago in 2012, working on the synthesis and characterisation of metal-organic compounds with interesting magnetic properties. He then continued to work at Otago as a postdoctoral fellow, studying the attachment of compounds to surfaces and molecular catalysts for hydrogen production.

Humphrey is also passionate about empowering PhD students and postdocs to pursue career options beyond academia, having spoken at conferences and on panel discussions about transitioning to industry.

Dr Pauline Harris 
2 v7

Dr Pauline Harris is from Rongomaiwahine, Ngāti Rakaipaka and Ngāti Kahungunu. She is Māori Science Leader and Principal Investigator within the MacDiarmid Institute, and a lecturer in the Faculty of Science at Victoria University of Wellington, where she lectures in the Science and Society programme. She has a PhD in astrophysics from Canterbury University. 



Ringahora Huata
3 v7

Ko Te Arawa me Takitimu nga Waka
Ko Tarawera me Pohaturoa te maunga
Ko Puarenga te awa
Ko Wahiao  te Whare Tupuna
Ko Tuhourangi Ngati Wahiao te Iwi/Hapu
Ko Ringahora Huata toku ingoa.

I am a Legacy Guide for Whakarewarewa Thermal Village Tours and an associate author with GNS and MacDiarmid Institute



Dr Rhys Jones (Ngāti Kahungunu)
3 v5

Dr Jones is a Public Health Physician and Senior Lecturer in Māori Health at the University of Auckland. His research addresses Indigenous health and health equity with a particular focus on environmental influences on Māori health and wellbeing.

He is a passionate advocate for action on the social determinants of health, equity and Indigenous rights. Rhys was the founding Co-Convenor of OraTaiao: The New Zealand Climate and Health Council, a health professional organisation focusing on the health challenges of climate change and the health opportunities of climate action.


Dr Khoon Lim 

4 v4 Dr Lim is currently a Senior Research Fellow and Team Leader at the University of Otago. His research technology platform involves photo-polymerizable hydrogel bioinks for 3D bioprinting of functional tissues and also delivery of bioactive molecules to promote tissue regeneration. His research has also generated intellectual property leading to commercialisation of hydrogel-based bioinks licensed to a US-based company, as well as establishment of commercial contracts with Fisher and Paykel Healthcare.

Dr Lim is currently an Associate Investigator on the Centre of Research Excellence in Medical Technologies (MedTech CoRE), Affiliate Investigator on the Maurice Wilkins Centre (MWC) for Molecular Diversity, and Executive Committee member of the Australasian Society of Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering (ASBTE). He currently serves as the Chair of the Early and Mid-Career Researcher Management Committee of the University of Otago - Division of Health Sciences. 

Professor Brendan McCane

5 v2Professor McCane's research interests include computer vision, pattern recognition, machine learning, biomedical imaging, and robotics. Brendan’s current research focuses on theoretical understanding of the effectiveness of deep networks, self-learning for robots, and applying machine learning to other domains.

His background is in Computer Science and he completed his undergraduate studies and a PhD in 1996 at James Cook University of North Queensland in Australia. Brendan joined the Computer Science Department at Otago in February 1997 as a lecturer thinking he would stay for four or five years, but it turns out that NZ is just too good a place to leave. Brendan was promoted to Professor in 2019.

Toby Morris

Untitled design v5

Toby Morris is an Auckland based cartoonist, illustrator and writer best known for non-fiction comics that investigate political and social issues. He produces the monthly series The Side Eye, published by The Spinoff, and is a three time winner of 'Best Artwork/Graphics' at the New Zealand media awards, and current 'Cartoonist of the Year' winner for 2020.

He has written and illustrated several graphic novels, including 2019's Te Tiriti O Waitangi. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic he has collaborated with Dr Siouxsie Wiles, producing graphics that have been viewed millions of times around the world, and he is now producing graphics and animated videos for the World Health Organization.

Boyd Multerer

square woods 300dpiBoyd Multerer has 30+ years of experience in the software industry, 18 of which were at Microsoft. He started, and/or built projects including Xbox Live, Xbox One, XNA (Xbox developer program), and IIS (Microsoft’s web server).

 In 2018, Boyd came to New Zealand where he is the CEO of a new company, Kry10 Limited, which is building a new, security-first Operating System for the IoT space. He has finally become a “full-stack” developer (firmware to kernels to servers to UI) and is knowledgeable across the range of software development. He also has active projects in materials-science.

 Boyd graduated from University of Wisconsin, has an Honorary Doctorate of Engineering from Glasgow Caledonian University and is happy to engage with Universities in New Zealand as he can.

Mitali Purohit

MitaliMitali has strong public and private sector experience in early stage commercialisation, particularly deeptech. At Callaghan Innovation she oversees its deeptech commercialisation efforts through a Government partnership with technology incubators. Most recently Mitali was a Network Manager at Icehouse Ventures where she lead the establishment of the ArcAngels Fund - New Zealand's first fund investing in female-led ventures.

She has been a Commercialisation Manager at AUT Ventures and an Associate at Pacific Channel where she also established Women in Science Entrepreneurship Award. Mitali is passionate about working with ventures that have strong social and environmental impact and is a staunch supporter of female entrepreneurship. 

Hēmi Rolleston

Hemi RollestonHēmi joined Scion in February 2019 and became General Manager Te Ao Māori and Science Services in November 2020. Prior to joining Scion, he worked at Callaghan Innovation as General Manager Sectors and Maori Economy as well as a period as Interim Chief Executive.

Born and bred in Rotorua, Hēmi whakapapa is Ngāti Whakaue and Tauranga Moana. He Chairs Ngāti Whakaue Assets Trust and is on several Maori commercial entities. His passion is creating prosperity for Maori particularly through Science and Innovation blended with Te Ao Maori.


Dr Sonya Scott
Untitled design v7

Dr Sonya Scott is a scientist at AgResearch bent on solving the problems of the world with wool. She completed a PhD in spectroscopy some time ago and after working with porphyrins at Massey and Cambridge Universities fetched up back in NZ looking for anything to do but milk cows on the family farm. This resulted in a job at what was then Canesis (formerly WRONZ) and the wool crusade began!

Sonya specialises in proteins and protein extraction and modification, with a specific focus on keratin and other agriculturally derived proteins. Current projects include investigation of the efficacy of medical materials derived from keratin and harnessing nature’s building blocks for 4D printing.

Dr Jami Shepherd 
6 v2

Dr Jami Shepherd is the Agnes Blackie Memorial Research Fellow for the Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonic and Quantum Technologies in the Department of Physics at the University of Auckland. The emphasis of Jami’s research is in biomedical photoacoustic and ultrasonic imaging. 

She is interested in creating new systems and imaging methods, including development of sensing hardware, designing new image reconstruction methods, and extracting buried information from images through novel image processing techniques.



James Warbrick
2 v8

Ko Tarawera toku maunga
Ko Tarawera te awa
Ko Wahiao te hapu
Ko Tuhourangi te iwi
Te Arawa te wakaKo James Warbrick toku ingoa.

I am the chairman of the Whakarewarewa Village Charitable Trust, Parekarangi Farm Trust and an associate author with GNS and MacDiarmid Institute.


Abstract Submission Information


  • The abstract is a maximum of 1 page of A4
  • Save as PDF file with the following name: MISymp21abstract_Surname
  • The MacDiarmid Institute programme committee reserve the right to reject abstracts that do not conform to the above guidelines.

Full Abstract Guidelines and Template are Downloadable here
Abstract Exemplar is Downloadable here

Key Dates:

Abstracts deadline Friday 20 November 3pm
Registration deadline: Friday 27 November 5pm

MacDiarmid Institute members and invited speakers

Thanks to our partner

Whakarewarewa logo main Artboard 1 copy 2extra large

Thanks to our sponsors

Website 3 v5