Dr Bruce Campbell was quick to acknowledge the work of those around him upon receiving the prestigious 2016 Thomson Medal late last month.
The chief operating officer of Plant & Food Research used his acceptance speech to pay tribute to the colleagues he has worked with over his 35-year career in agricultural and horticultural sciences.
“I am thrilled and humbled to receive this award. It is a credit to the many talented people I have been privileged to work with over the years,” Campbell explained. “I have focused my career on partnering science with users of new knowledge to enhance food, the environment and people. It is great to see this connectivity of science now gathering momentum to enrich our society and wellbeing.”
The Thomson Medal is awarded by the Royal Society of New Zealand to recognise outstanding contributions to science and technology.
Campbell’s current role sees him lead a team of more than 600 scientists across New Zealand, delivering research and innovation to support the growth of the plant and marine-based food sectors.
He also acts as a director for a number of industry organisations and science partnerships, including Forage Innovations, the Bio-Protection Research Centre of Excellence and the Horticulture New Zealand Vegetable Research & Innovation Board. He was made a Fellow of the NZ Institute of Agricultural & Horticultural Science in 2014.
“His leadership has had a positive impact on the New Zealand economy, including innovations in forages, wine, kiwifruit and avocado sectors, and he has fostered new science talent and linked science closely with business and the wider community,” the medal’s selection committee said.
The committee particularly noted Campbell’s scientific leadership during the response to the kiwifruit bacterial disease Psa when it was discovered in New Zealand in 2010. The response saw more than 100 Plant & Food Research scientists mobilised to support Zespri and the kiwifruit industry in understanding and managing the devastating disease.