The Departmental Science Advisory Network

He Rauhinga Tohu Putaiao

Prof Richie Poulton - Ministry of Social Development

Prof Hamish Spencer - Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
Hema Sridhar - Ministry of Defence
Dr Alison Collins - Ministry for the Environment
Prof Ian Lambie - Justice Sector

Associate Professor Ian Lambie

Ian Lambie is Associate Professor in Clinical Psychology at the University of Auckland, where he teaches clinical, forensic, child and adolescent psychology. His specialist clinical and research interests are in child and adolescent mental health, childhood trauma and youth justice, building on more than 30 years’ experience working with children and adolescents and their families. Initially as a  general and psychiatric nurse, then as a specialist clinical psychologist, he has worked with children and adolescents with severe conduct problems and trauma, in both family and criminal-justice settings, and was involved for 15 years in programmes for adolescents with harmful sexual behaviour and children who deliberately light fires. His academic position is an opportunity to build robust, applicable knowledge in these areas, including in training new forensic and clinical psychologists, and advising Fire & Emergency on child firelighters and Oranga Tamariki on child offenders. He was made an Honorary Fellow of the New Zealand Psychological Society for his services to Psychology in New Zealand in 2018. As Science Advisor for the Justice Sector two days a week, Ian works across the Ministry of Justice, Department of Corrections and Police, as well as maintaining links with the broader social sector including Oranga Tamariki and Ministry of Health.

John Roche - Ministry of Primary Industries
Prof Simon Kingham - Ministry of Transport

Professor Simon Kingham

Simon Kingham is Professor of Geography at the University of Canterbury

Simon’s research primarily focuses on the impact of the urban environment on individual and community health and wellbeing.  Much of his research uses geospatial science including some done through the GeoHealth Laboratory, of which he is the Director. His research is generally applied and carried out with end users with a strong community engagement focus.

Simon spends two days a week working for the MoT. The work spans across a range of transport areas including access and mobility, resilience, active travel, urban development, demand management and safety. In addition Simon’s role includes a focus on how to better link the research being done in NZ with the policy decisions the MoT are making.

University Profile Geohealth Research

Dr John Potter - Ministry of Health

Professor John Potter

Centre for Public Health Research. Massey University Wellington
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, USA
Professor Emeritus of Epidemiology, University of Washington, Seattle, USA.
Adjunct Professor, University of Canterbury, Christchurch

Potter has an international research career focussing on nutrition, other environmental and host factors, and genetics in the aetiology and pathobiology of cancer and other chronic diseases. This has recently broadened to “planetary overload”, especially in relation to diet and environmental degradation.

He is currently PI of the Centre for Public Health Research study:  Comparison of two invitation-based methods for Human Papillomavirus (HPV) self-sampling with standard recall for usual care among un- and under-screened Māori, Pacific and Asian women: a randomised controlled community trial to examine the effect of self-sampling on participation in cervical-cancer screening, as well as participating as an investigator in other studies.

International recognition includes AACR Award for Research Excellence in Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention (2009) and the 2012 Medal of Honour of  the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

He is author/co-author of more than 700 scientific papers, chapters, and books; his Scopus h-Index is 112

Work for MoH has focussed on mental health, child wellbeing, aspects of diet (including sugar-sweetened beverages), medicinal uses of cannabis, and cancer.

Fred Hutch Profile:

Prof Ken Hughey - Department of Conservation
Vince Galvin - Statistics New Zealand
Dr Rob Murdoch - Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Dr Rob Murdoch

Dr Murdoch is Currently NIWA’s General Manager Research, responsible for overseeing all of NIWA’s research, and the operation of its research vessels.

Research experience includes biological oceanography, fisheries, ocean productivity, the environmental effects and management of marine resource use (aquaculture, oil & gas exploration) fiord ecology, coastal reef and fish surveys, seabird ecology, marine natural products, and marine invertebrate taxonomy.  Field research has ranged from the tropics to the Southern Ocean.

Provide input primarily into science investment processes, and science policy development and implementation, along with advice into other areas of MBIE such as economic development and Crown Minerals. Work closely with other DSA’s, especially within the Natural Resources Government agencies.

Prof Stuart McNaughton - Ministry of Education
Prof Gary Evans - Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Gary Evans  is currently Professor at Victoria University of Wellington and Deputy Director of the Ferrier Research Institute. Gary has a PhD in organic chemistry and currently specialises in understanding the role of enzyme function in diseases with the aim of developing better medicines. He works in collaboration with a number of international and national groups including the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the Maurice Wilkins Centre.  A number of potential compounds from his work are in clinical and pre-clinical trial for the treatment of cancers, gout, malaria and microbial infections.  Gary is a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit,  a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Chemistry and winner of various awards.  In 2011 he won the inaugural MacDiarmid Award from the Royal Society Te Aparangi for his outstanding scientific research that demonstrates the potential for application to human benefit.

Gary will lead the science leadership team at MBIE. He will join Hamish Spencerand Rob Murdoch as part of the cross government group of departmental science advisors. He will be seconded to MBIE for 80% of his time.


Prof Evans University Web Page


  Phone: + 64 9 923 6318

Mailing Address

Office of the Prime Minister's Chief Science Advisor
The University of Auckland
Private Bag 92019
Victoria Street West
Auckland 1142
New Zealand