Auckland

Auckland Branch covers the North Auckland District. This district covers the area north of a line drawn from the mouth of the Waikato to the Firth of Thames, not including the Coromandel Peninsula.

New Zealand Institute of Chemistry Auckland Branch
(P.O. Box 7262, Wellesley St, Auckland)
Email: [email protected]
Auckland Branch Committee

Auckland Branch Committee

ChairDr Cameron Weber
SecretaryDr Marija Gizdavic-Nikolaidis
TreasurerDr Marcus Jones
Council DelegateDr Jack Chen
Chem. Ed. Group RepresentativeDr Muhammad Hanif
Branch EditorDr Davide Mercadante
Committee Member(s)A/Prof Dan Furkert
A/Prof Geoffrey Waterhouse
Dr Cassandra Fleming
Student Representative(s)Tzu-Jung Juan
Bronte Carr
Andres Tiban

NZIC Auckland Branch Report from the Chair 2021

C. Weber informed the members that financial year has changed this year to run from 1st January until 31st December rather than 1st October to 30th September as has been standard for previous years. The last AGM was on Wednesday 18th November, 2020, so this report starts from that date. Firstly, C. Weber thanked all the Committee members for their contributions this year including the student representatives Gaby Samson, Sneh Patel, Dominique Rwizinkindi, Brooke Kwai and Tzu-Jung Juan. He especially thanked to Dr Marija Gizdavic-Nikolaidis as Branch Secretary, Dr Jack Chen as Council Delegate, Dr Muhammad Hanif as Chemical Education Group Representative, Dr Davide Mercadante as Branch Editor, and A/Prof Marcus Jones as Treasurer. C. Weber also thanked everyone who was involved in helping the organisation and promotion of the NZIC events this year.

C. Weber said that our Auckland Branch Committee member A/Prof Gordon Rewcastle retired this year and he thanked him for his extensive contributions to the NZIC Auckland Branch and the NZIC more broadly over several decades. C. Weber wished him well in his retirement. This year Auckland Branch of the NZIC ran another successful iteration of NZIC Chemistry Careers Evening on Monday 2nd August in conjunction with Employability and Careers from AUT. This was attended by over 150 students across the Auckland region with presentations from 10 companies that employ chemists ranging from start-ups to multinationals. Based on feedback from last year the tables were added to create formal spaces for companies to set up displays which appeared to help with the networking phase of the event. C. Weber thanked to Iana Gritcan and Rachel Shareef from AUT for their assistance with the organisation of this event which is becoming a highlight of the NZIC annual calendar. Feedback from this event points to interest in setting up postgraduate specific careers sessions or events and C. Weber welcomed any ideas that anyone has in this space.

Chair said that the seminar programme this year has been significantly interrupted again due to COVID-19 restrictions. The lockdown in February/March led to many speakers opting to delay their seminars until semester 2 which were then hit by the long lockdown in August. Despite these interruptions we have managed to host 5 seminars this year (see list below). Our approach has focused on giving early career researchers the opportunity to physically come to Auckland for the day to meet with researchers here in addition to delivering the seminar. The NZIC speakers were Dr Kim McKelvey (Victoria University of Wellington), Dr Courtney Ennis (University of Otago), Dr Luke Liu (Victoria University of Wellington), Prof Simon Webb (The University of Manchester) and Dr Muhammad Hanif (University of Auckland). Chair also said the NZIC Auckland Branch also promoted seminars for international scholars visiting Auckland for other reasons, although for obvious reasons this has been much rarer in the past year. This year, as for last year, the seminar speakers were incorporated within the University of Auckland seminar programme where possible to help ensure attendance but this has reduced the number of events being hosted outside the University of Auckland. There was an intention to host some seminars at AUT again this year but this was prevented by the current lockdown arrangements.

C. Weber said that the NZIC conference will be hosted by Auckland next year with the most likely dates being Monday 21st November – Thursday 24th November 2022. J. Chen and C. Weber are currently in the final stages of confirming the venue and there will be more news circulated to everyone shortly. As per past events there will be a discount for members to attend, which in the case of students ends up being similar to the cost of the membership itself so C. Weber encouraged students to join in anticipation of this event so they can maximise the benefits of NZIC membership. J. Chen and C. Weber are working to ensure the registration fees are as similar as possible to the 2019 event to encourage the greatest attendance possible. The NZIC helped support the IUPAC Global Women’s Breakfast this year held on 9th February. Dr Iana Gritcan is gratefully acknowledged for her assistance in organising this event again this year.

Unfortunately, NZIC Auckland Branch was unable to hold the annual dinner this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. The NZIC Auckland Branch was also agreed in principle to support a PhD student end of year event hosted by Hapori Mātai Matū, the University of Auckland Chemistry Society, which was to be open to PhD students from all Auckland Branch Universities although unfortunately this has also been cancelled due to COVID. C. Weber hoped that both events will be able to occur next year.

The NZIC continued to support undergraduate chemistry students in the Auckland region by sponsoring undergraduate prizes at AUT, UoA and Massey Auckland. Given the COVID-19 restrictions on travel this year, no travel grants were awarded or applied for from the branch. A reminder to students and supervisors that travel grants require students to be members for a minimum of 6 months prior to application and can include conference registration costs such as the upcoming NZIC conference. Chair encouraged students to register sooner rather
than later to ensure eligibility for the travel grants.

NZIC Auckland Branch Report from the Chair 2020

C. Weber reminded members that the financial year runs from 1st October until 30th September and as our last AGM was on Wednesday 13th November, 2019, so this report starts from that date. Firstly, C. Weber thanked all the members of the branch committee for their contributions this year. He especially thanked to Dr Marija Gizdavic-Nikolaidis as Branch Secretary, Dr Jack Chen as Council Delegate, Dr Ivanhoe Leung as Chemical Education Group Representative, Dr Davide Mercadante as Branch Editor, and Dr Marcus Jones as Treasurer. C. Weber also thanked everyone who was involved in helping the organisation and promotion of the NZIC events this year.

The Auckland Branch of the NZIC and the Career Development and Employability Service hosted a Chemistry Careers Evening on Monday 10th August. This was attended by approximately 200 students across the Auckland region with presentations from 9 companies that employ chemists ranging from start-ups to multinationals. Given the success of this event NZIC Auckland Branch is looking into this becoming an annual fixture and Chair has started discussions with AUT about hosting a similar event there next year.

C. Weber informed members that the seminar programme this year has been significantly interrupted due to COVID-19 which led to many planned seminars being postponed or cancelled. Despite these interruptions the Auckland Branch of the NZIC managed to host 4 seminars this year including a seminar to be held on Friday 20th November. The NZIC speakers were Prof. David Kingston (Virginia Tech), Dr Cassandra Fleming (Auckland University of Technology), Prof. Patricia Hunt (Victoria University of Wellington) and Dr Nathaniel Davis (Victoria University of Wellington). In addition to our own seminar programme, we have also hosted the Presidential Lecture by A/Prof. Sarah Masters (The University of Canterbury), to be held immediately following the AGM.

This year Auckland Branch of the NZIC have been incorporating seminar speakers within the University of Auckland seminar programme where possible to help ensure attendance but this has reduced the number of events being hosted outside the University of Auckland. C. Weber suggested members to consider what the best approach going forward should be in regard place and time for organising NZIC seminars in a future, so these events can be hosted equally across the Branch.

The NZIC helped support the IUPAC Global Women’s Breakfast this year held on 12th February. Dr Iana Gritcan is gratefully acknowledged for her assistance in organising this event. The NZIC Auckland Branch annual dinner was held on Thursday 15th October at the Four Seasons at AUT following postponement due to COVID-19 restrictions. C. Weber thanked to Dr Marija Gizdavic-Nikolaidis for organising this event.

Chair also said that as the only NZIC branch that contains multiple universities, it would be good to have more events designed to bring students from these universities together to create more of a regional chemistry community. C. Weber asked if anyone has ideas in this space to contact him. Student representatives are also encouraged to indicate the types of activities that they believe would work well.

The NZIC Auckland Branch continued to support undergraduate chemistry students in the Auckland region by sponsoring undergraduate prizes at AUT, UoA and Massey Auckland. C. Weber said that NZIC Auckland Branch sponsored a poster prize in the 2019 Green Chemistry New Zealand conference in December 2019. Given the COVID-19 restrictions on travel this year, no travel grants were awarded or applied for from the branch.

NZIC Auckland Branch Report from the Chair 2019

Our financial year runs from 1st October until 30th September and our last AGM was on Friday 30th November, 2018, so this report starts from that date.

Firstly, I would like to thank all the members of the branch committee for their contributions this year. I would especially like to thank Dr Marija Gizdavic-Nikolaidis as Branch Secretary, Dr Jack Chen as Council Delegate and Chemical Education Group Representative, Dr Cameron Weber as Branch Editor, and Dr Marcus Jones as Treasurer. I would also like to thank everyone who was involved in helping the organisation and promotion of the NZIC events this year.

Events

We have continued organise a diverse seminar programme this year across AUT and UoA. We have hosted 13 seminars this year, covering different areas of chemistry, from chemical education to nanomaterials, organic synthesis to inorganic polymers. In addition, we wanted to achieve balances in genders (7 male speakers and 6 female speakers) and career stages (from early career academics to Nobel Laureates) in our seminar programme.

Dr Tobias Gruber (University of Lincoln)

Dr Jóhannes Reynisson (The University of Auckland)

Dr Gareth Cave (Nottingham Trent University)

Dr Alvin Orbaek White (Swansea University)

Dr Daniel Foley (University of Canterbury)

Professor Sir Fraser Stoddart (Northwestern University)

Dr Sheila Woodgate (The University of Auckland)

Dr Richard Hopkinson (University of Leicester)

Dr Renee Goreham (The University of Newcastle)

Dr Megan Grainger (The University of Waikato)

Dr Vanessa Morris (University of Canterbury)

Dr Erin Leitao (The University of Auckland)

Dr Viji Sarojini (The University of Auckland)

 

In addition to our own seminar programme, we have also co-hosted the Royal Society of Chemistry Australasian Lecturer (Professor Keith Gordon, University of Otago), and sponsored an open lecture organised by the Centre for Green Chemical Science at the University of Auckland (Dr Pete Myers, Environmental Health Sciences).

Sponsorship and prizes

The NZIC continued to support undergraduate chemistry students in the Auckland region by sponsoring undergraduate prizes at AUT, UoA and Massey Auckland prizes.

Unlike previous years, no requests were made to the branch to sponsor the UoA SCS Research Showcase or any other meetings or conferences.

Two postgraduate students applied for travel grants this year (Chloe Ren and Pablo Solís Muñana) to travel to the NZIC2019 conference in November this year. Both applications were approved. Both Ren and Solís Muñana will give oral presentations at the conference. In addition, Solís Muñana will represent the Auckland branch to compete for the ‘Student Oral Communication Prize’.

Finance

Finance report will be provided by Dr Marcus Jones.

Other matters

A particular highlight this year was that our long-serving branch secretary, Dr Marija Gizdavic-Nikolaidis, was made FNZIC. Marija has served the branch for more than ten years so the recognition was well-deserved.

Ivanhoe Leung

13th November, 2019