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$50,000 Critic and Conscience of Society Award open for applications

01 December 2021 | news

The latest Critic and Conscience of Society Award is now open for applications, giving Aotearoa New Zealand’s university academics the chance to follow in the footsteps of previous winners such as Associate Professor Siouxsie Wiles, Professor Alexander Gillespie, Professor Michael Baker and Dr Mike Joy.

The award, sponsored by philanthropic trust The Gama Foundation, includes a grant of $50,000 to help with research, conferences and other work-related expenses. It was first presented in 2017 and its other winners have been Dr Ann Brower, Associate Professor Anita Gibbs and Professor Andrew Geddis.

The award aims to encourage academics to fulfil their role under the Education and Training Act 2020, which requires universities to act as the critic and conscience of society.

Each year, it is given to an academic staff member who, in the opinion of a panel of three independent judges, has done more in the past two calendar years than any other applicant to provide the public with independent, expert commentary on an issue or issues affecting the New Zealand community or future generations.

Winners are not eligible to apply again until five years have elapsed.

The winner of the 2022 award will receive their grant, along with a framed award certificate, at a special function next year.

The award is administered by Universities New Zealand – Te Pōkai Tara. It is not necessary to be nominated and academics can apply via an online form.

The closing date for applications is 28 February 2022.

Applicants’ queries should be emailed to