Acclaimed scholar wins 2019 UC Research Medal

13 November 2019

University of Canterbury (UC) Ecology Professor Jason Tylianakis will receive the 2019 UC Research Medal, one of the highest awards the University Council can bestow.

University of Canterbury (UC) Ecology Professor Jason Tylianakis will receive the 2019 UC Research Medal, one of the highest awards the University Council can bestow.

An internationally eminent ecologist in UC’s Biological Sciences, Professor Tylianakis has established a research platform with remarkable breadth and depth, producing a series of highly cited publications on the responses of species interactions and ecological networks to global environmental change.

“I think it’s really important to understand how humans interacting with the environment affects the trajectory the environment will take,” he says.

“How does the way people manage the environment, or the needs of people from the environment, drive the way we change our landscapes? Those processes, those relationships between humans and the environment will be what ultimately determines the future of our planet.”

Professor Tylianakis’ work has been cited over 12,000 times, which places him amongst the top international ecologists.

“Jason’s cumulative research has led him to produce over 100 scholarly publications, which have featured in some of the world’s most prestigious journals,” UC Deputy Vice-Chancellor and chair of the Selection Committee, Professor Ian Wright says.

Head of Biological Sciences Professor Matthew Turnbull explained how, from the beginnings of his postgraduate research Professor Tylianakis had been on a steep trajectory across many measures of research excellence.

“Jason’s achievements have been recognised through research awards and one of the inaugural ten Rutherford Discovery Fellowships. In 2018, he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of NZ, which, at age 40, was 27 years younger than the median age of Fellows,” Professor Turnbull says.

“His trajectory of research excellence has been paralleled by what is probably the most rapid career trajectory in the University of Canterbury’s history. 

After graduating from Massey University in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science, Professor Tylianakis received his Master of Science (with first class honours) at UC in 2002 before receiving his doctorate (summa cum laude) from Germany’s Georg August University in 2006.

The 2019 medal will be officially presented to Professor Tylianakis at a UC event in late November.

UC Research Medal

The UC Research Medal is awarded by the University Council for excellence demonstrated by a sustained record of research of the highest quality, or by research of outstanding merit produced over a more limited timeframe. The Research Medal is the highest honour UC can extend to its academic staff in recognition of research excellence.

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