Two internationally renowned academics at the University of Canterbury have been named as finalists in the Westpac Women of Influence Awards 2021, recognising women making a difference in the work they do, and paving the way for others to follow.
Clinical Psychologist at the University of Canterbury and Director of Te Puna Toiora | Mental Health and Nutrition Research, Professor Julia Rucklidge is one of five finalists for the Innovation, Science and Health Award, acknowledging her research that contributes to thousands of people recovering from mental health problems.
Having witnessed the failure of conventional mental health treatments first-hand, Professor Rucklidge is passionate about helping people find alternate treatments for mental health challenges like ADHD, depression, and stress by making nutritional interventions mainstream.
Professor Rucklidge says, “Being a woman of influence is judged not by my hardships and successes but whether I have had a positive impact on the lives of others. It’s heartening to hear that the research on micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) is making an impact as it can sometimes feel like an uphill battle.”
“More than that, it’s a privilege to be amongst a whole group of women who are making a difference in their areas of expertise – it’s wonderful to see the amazing things that others are doing.”
Director of Hei Puāwaitanga: Sustainability Citizenship and Civic Imagination Research Group, Professor Bronwyn Hayward, MNZM recognised internationally for her expertise on sustainability and youth politics. Now she is one of six finalists for the Environment Award, recognising her research that has helped shape the understanding of climate change, particularly the implications for younger generations.
A trailblazer in her field, she is the first political scientist and only New Zealander appointed to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) core writing team and is also a co-ordinating lead author of the IPCC AR6 report (cities & infrastructure). She was a lead author and the only New Zealander on the 2018 Special Report on 1.5 degrees. Her contribution was on sustainable development and poverty eradication.
Professor Hayward says, “I feel very honoured to be recognised alongside so many women I admire, however for me this research is a group effort. I really believe in the whakataukī or proverb, Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari kē he toa takitini, success is not the work of one but the work of many.”
“This very much reflects my research philosophy, whether I’m serving alongside peers on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or in research and teaching here at UC, its teamwork that makes the difference. I’ve learned so much from the colleagues and students I’ve been lucky to work with – both at UC and internationally.”
Read her latest opinion piece on Stuff in the lead up to the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties in Glasgow.