Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

What is the O-zone group?

O-zone members are winners of either an Early Career Award for Distinction in Research, or the prestigious Rowheath Trust Award and Carl Smith Medal.

O-zone group showcase at Pariliament in 2018
Dr Anita Dunbier presenting at the O-zone Parliament Research Showcase 2018.

The O-zone group was modelled on the Oxygen group, developed in 2005 by the then Ministry of Research, Science and Technology (now the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment). The Oxygen group was established as a forum to provide a voice to bright younger scientists and tap into their experience.

Though the Oxygen group is no longer, both Otago and Auckland Universities have established similar groups. The Auckland group is STRATUS and Otago group O-zone, reflecting the “atmospheric” theme and the University name.

O-zone was established in early 2007, comprising early to mid-career researchers recognised by the University of Otago for significant contributions to their fields.

To maintain focus on early career researchers, award winners remain members of the group for a five-year term. The group elects two conveners, with convenership rotated biennially. O-zone conveners sit on the University of Otago Research Committee to represent early career staff.

The group exemplifies the University of Otago’s national and international leadership, including world-class researchers across the spectrum of disciplines – science, medical science, social science, commerce, business, humanities and the arts.

^ Top of Page

What does O-zone do?

The O-zone group promotes interdisciplinary thinking and collaborations, and presents a positive, clear, innovative, and independent voice for research within the University, locally, regionally, and nationally.

The main goals of the O-zone group are:

  1. To advocate for and promote research:
    • Within the University of Otago
    • To the broader New Zealand government, industry, and research sectors
    • To the New Zealand public
  2. To facilitate networking and collaborations among early to mid-career researchers at University of Otago.

The group organises a biennial visit to parliament to showcase research being conducted by early career staff at Otago, and highlight issues to support better research opportunities for early career staff at a national level. In the alternate year O-zone organises a public symposium, showcasing Otago’s cutting-edge research. The group also elects two key agendas to focus on over a two-year period.

O-zone strongly encourages early career research staff across the University’s campuses to make contact with convenors to raise any specific issues they may be experiencing conducting their research, or to alert the group to any assistance they might provide for early career staff.

Academic and research-only O-zone group members are available to meet with individual early career staff to discuss the challenges involved in starting out. To set up meetings please email a convenor or any of the members directly.

^ Top of Page


Dr Louise Bicknell
Tel +64 3 479 7172

Dr Nic Rawlence
Tel +64 3 479 5385

^ Top of Page

O-zone members

O-zone members' research interests and past O-zone members

Dunedin campus

  • Dr Louise Bicknell
  • Dr Rosie Brown
  • Dr Tilman Davies
  • Dr Allan Gamble
  • Dr Anna Garden
  • Dr Bill Hawkins
  • Associate Professor Dione Healey
  • Dr Jorg Hennig
  • Associate Professor Tim Hore
  • Dr Karl Iremonger
  • Dr Sheri Johnson
  • Dr Tobias Langlotz
  • Dr Caroline Loch Santos da Silva
  • Dr Erin Macaulay
  • Dr Peter Mace
  • Dr Robert Odolinski
  • Dr Michael Pankhurst
  • Dr Mei Peng
  • Dr Nic Rawlence
  • Dr Damian Scarf
  • Associate Professor James Scott
  • Associate Professor Ben Schonthal
  • Associate Professor John Shaver
  • Dr Jesse Wall
  • Associate Professor Ting Wang

Christchurch campus

  • Dr Anitra Carr
  • Associate Professor Tracy Melzer
  • Associate Professor Logan Walker

Wellington campus

  • Associate Professor Jason Gurney
  • Dr Giles Newton-Howes

^ Top of Page

O-zone resources

O-zone represents, supports and advocates for Early Career Researchers at the University of Otago.

The O-zone resources page includes our email signup – where we send news of interest and advertise our monthly workshops – individual members expertise if you want help or advice, and links to groups or resources that could be helpful.

O-zone resources page