UC Scientist wins prize for excellence in chemical science

10 January 2019

A University of Canterbury chemist has won the New Zealand Institute of Chemistry’s prestigious Maurice Wilkins Centre Prize for Excellence in Chemical Science.

  • Antony Fairbanks

    Professor Antony Fairbanks. Photo by Matt Walters, School of Biological Sciences, University of Canterbury.

University of Canterbury chemist, Professor Antony Fairbanks, has been announced as the winner of the New Zealand Institute of Chemistry's 2018 Maurice Wilkins Centre Prize for Excellence in Chemical Science.

This premier prize of the Institute is awarded to a candidate based on excellence and impact of their chemistry; this is only the second occasion in its history that the award has gone to a UC Scientist.

Professor Fairbanks was nominated by the Canterbury Branch of NZIC to the Council for consideration alongside his peers. He was awarded the prize based on the excellence and impact of work undertaken in New Zealand. His research field is highly complex and competitive and his research impact is impressive given the relatively short time he has been in NZ (~10 years).

NZIC President, Associate Professor Sarah Masters, says “This is the prestige science prize awarded by the Institute and we are delighted it has been presented to Professor Fairbanks in recognition of his excellent and impactful science undertaken in New Zealand at the University of Canterbury.”

In winning the prize Professor Fairbanks acknowledged the exceptional work by key members of his research group since his arrival at UC in 2009. He says

“I am delighted to accept this award on behalf of all of the members of my research group at UC, past and present, but particularly wish to acknowledge the work of Pragya Priyanka, Davey Lim and Yusuke Tomabechi who all contributed to key research publications that led to the award.”

In 2017, Professor Fairbanks was awarded $870,000 of Marsden funding and $1,000,000 of Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) Endeavour Smart Ideas funding to expand his research.

He is based in UC’s School of Physical and Chemical Sciences and Biomolecular Interaction Centre. He is an Associate Investigator in the Maurice Wilkins Centre. His research centres on organic chemistry and chemical biology, particularly applied to carbohydrates and glycoconjugates.

Article by Rebecca Hurrell

For further information please contact:

Rebecca Hurrell, Institute Manager, Biomolecular Interaction Centre, University of Canterbury
Phone: +64 3 369 3979 | rebecca.hurrell@canterbury.ac.nz


UC reflects on the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing

This year marks 50 years since NASA’s Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the Moon, 20 July 1969. The University of ...


SOFIA: Science from the Stratosphere – UC public talk

Like some confused migratory bird, a jumbo jet containing NASA’s flying observatory leaves its sunny home in the California desert every year to spend ...