Dr Ian Ferguson from Plant & Food Research and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has been recognised by the government of China with their premier award for foreigners, the National Friendship Award – the only New Zealander to receive this honour in 2013.
The Friendship Award is presented to thank and commend foreign experts for their achievements and dedication to China’s development. Dr Ferguson was recognised for his long-standing relationship with Zhejiang University’s Laboratory of Fruit Quality Biology. For 15 years, he has supported the building of science capability through hosting of students and researchers at Plant & Food Research in New Zealand, as well as providing advice and expertise in the development of this leading research group and of postharvest research in China.
As well as the National Friendship Award, Dr Ferguson was presented with the Zhejiang Westlake Friendship Award by the People’s Government of Zhejiang Province.
“These awards reflect both Plant & Food Research’s links with China and the considerable personal achievements of Dr Ferguson,” says Plant & Food Research CEO, Peter Landon-Lane. “This is a great recognition of his commitment to science, both in New Zealand and overseas.”
"These are outstanding achievements by Dr Ferguson, and demonstrates the value and respect held by China for his contributions and personal commitment,” says Scott Gallacher, Acting Director-General, MPI. “Dr Ferguson joins a select group to receive this level of recognition from China, and we offer our congratulations.”
Dr Ferguson was, until recently, the Chief Scientist at Plant & Food Research, and is now an Honorary Fellow. He has more than 40 years experience in postharvest and plant biotechnology research. He is a Fellow of the NZ Royal Society and in 2010 was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for service to horticultural science. In August 2012, he was appointed Departmental Science Advisor to the MPI.
The Friendship Award is presented to 50 foreign experts each year, coinciding with celebrations for China’s National Day on 1st October. A total of 1,299 foreign experts from more than 60 countries have received the award since its inception in 1991. This year’s award winners included men and woman from many different fields of research, commerce and social services.