TEU congratulates Dr Frédérique Vanholsbeeck, TEU Council member, Associate Professor, and Associate Dean Diversity and Inclusion in the Faculty of Science at Te Whare Wānanga o Tāmaki Makaurau - University of Auckland on being awarded the Hill Tinsley Medal for research in physics.

The Hill Tinsley Medal is awarded for outstanding fundamental or applied research in the physical, natural or social sciences published by a scientist or scientists within 15 years of completing their PhD. Dr Vanholsbeeck, whose primary field of research is biophotonics, has received the award for her work in creating a better understanding of how to monitor bacterial viability and antibiotic efficiency.

Dr Vanholsbeeck leads a biophotonics lab at the University, undertaking both fundamental and applied research with diverse and varied interdisciplinary collaboration. A further notable aspect of her work has been the extent to which she mentors a vibrant group of early career researchers and postgraduate research students. According to Dr Vanholsbeeck,

‘The work is a team effort, and I have had some great people working with me, both through interdisciplinary collaboration, and my work with students. Getting people together and having the privilege of acting as mentor to emerging researchers has been a great experience. The funding I received from both MBIE and the Dodd-Walls Centre of research excellence meant I was able to fund salaries for several post-doctoral fellows. It would be great if we could see more of that in the sector, if we want to continue supporting emerging academics and see research that really makes an impact’.

Dr Vanholsbeeck says an important aspect of the guidelines for eligibility for the Hill Tinsley Medal is the award’s acknowledgment of time taken for parental leave,

‘I’m also really grateful that the guidelines for the award took into account parental leave. Without parental leave factored-in, I wouldn’t have been eligible for the award, since its been 17 years since I completed my PhD. So it’s great that the Hill Tinsley Medal acknowledges that academics, parents – particularly women – but all staff, will encounter occasional breaks in their research and employment, and it’s important that this is recognised’.