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“Volcano Dad” wins Prime Minister’s Science Communication Prize

03 May 2024

The University of Canterbury is proud to celebrate Professor Ben Kennedy as the winner of the 2023 Te Puiaki Whakapā Pūtaiao Science Communication Prize.  


Photo caption: Professor Ben Kennedy with Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Innovation and Technology Minister Judith Collins.

In awarding [the prize], the expert members of the selection panel were impressed with Ben’s thoughtful and mature approach to science communication. They believe that the benefit of his work will be wide-reaching – both in Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific.

They say Ben clearly understands and values the investment required to build genuine relationships with mana whenua and other communities, and his collaborative approach is inspiring and positions him to be a leader in how we reimagine hazard communication following the tragic events on Whakaari.

[Ben] says he realised the importance of communicating his science to others during his PhD. He initially took the tack of focusing on tamariki, who will need scientific knowledge and skills – and the trust in science that results from understanding – to handle the challenges facing our world.

“I want to share my enthusiasm and my passion for volcanoes. And I think you find a lot of people are also similarly excited and passionate about volcanoes.”

Ben says this award is not only for him, but for the “diverse community of great people” that work alongside him.

Read the full Te Apārangi Royal Society story here>

Read more about the 2023 prime Minister’s Science Communication prize here> 

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