MacDiarmid Institute Annual Symposium and Future Leaders' Programme 2021 » The MacDiarmid Institute
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. See below for a draft programme for the conference:

Website Schedule Take 3

We also have many other activities planned for this event:

Tuesday: 2pm Registration open
                3pm Social Activities
                5pm Welcome Reception
Wednesday: 5pm Poster Session
Thursday: 6.30pm Conference Dinner

Speaker Biographies

Untitled designAssociate Professor Catherine M. 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.

1 v8Professor Jared 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.



2 v6Professor Michelle 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.


Untitled design v4Dr Humphrey 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.

3 v5Dr Rhys Jones (Ngāti Kahungunu) 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.



4 v4 Dr Khoon 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. 

5 v2Professor Brendan 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.


6 v2Dr 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.

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