GSNZ Awards FAQs

Learn more about who is eligible and how to apply for the GSNZ Awards

Who can apply? Are the awards just for students or high-flying senior scientists?

Our awards are open to all members of the Society.  Yes, we do have awards that are just for students, and a couple are directed at those with a long history in the Geosciences, but the remainder are available to anyone who fits the criteria for a given award.  We would welcome more nominations for/from Early Career Researchers for awards such as the Hochstetter Lecturer, New Zealand Geophysics Prize, Hayward Geocommunication Award, and McKay Hammer, the majority of which may have anecdotally been regarded as the territory of more established researchers. 

Can I apply for these awards myself, or do I have to be nominated by someone else?

This depends on the award. For some awards (e.g. most of the student awards and the Alan Mason Historical studies fund), it is generally expected that the recipient will also be the applicant. For the majority of the other awards, it has traditionally been that recipients are nominated by others.  However, this does not mean that you cannot arrange for yourself to be nominated if you would like to be considered for one of the awards.  The Awards Subcommittee would welcome self-nominations for all other awards, with the exception of the GSNZ Honorary member and S.H. Wilson Prize.  Depending on the award, you may still need to find nominators to support your application, but you can be responsible for completing and submitting the application yourself. 

Is it a lot of work to apply?

Generally no. Some awards require more input than others.  Most of the work in any given award is writing the justification to explain why the applicant/nominee is a worthwhile recipient.  To get an idea of how much work is involved for a particular award, go to and download the award template for that award. 

Who judges the Awards?

The majority of the awards are judged by the Awards Subcommittee, which is chaired by the current Vice President of the Society.  The Subcommittee usually consists of the Chair plus at least 4 or 5 other geoscientists selected by the Chair, some of whom may be members of the National Committee. 

The makeup of the subcommittee changes each year.  The Chair aims to ensure that the Subcommittee contains members from a range of institutions (Universities and CRIs) and disciplines.  Some awards (Wellman Research Award, Wellman Prize, Werner F Giggenbach Medal, S.H Wilson Prize) have rules which state the decision lies with other parties.  However, in practice, the Awards Subcommittee will generally make a recommendation to these other parties, who can then ratify it. 

If I submit an application or nomination this year and it isn’t successful, can I resubmit it again the following year?

Yes!  But we do recommend checking with the Chair of the Awards Subcommittee first.  As long as the award is offered again in the subsequent year and the application still complies with the respective rules for the award (e.g. publications relating to a particular timeframe, etc.) then we do encourage resubmissions. 

What are the chances of success?

Lately, pretty good!  In recent years, the majority of our awards have, on average, received fewer than five nominations in a given year.  We’d like to see this change though, so please get writing and nominate yourself or your colleagues & students for these awards which recognise excellence in our community!

If you've any further questions about our Awards please contact Sam McColl the GSNZ Vice President and Chair of the Awards Subcommittee.