Next President of Society to receive research medal

Press Release – Royal Society Of New Zealand

Royal Society Te Apārangi

Next President of Society to receive prestigious research medal

7 May 2018

Professor Wendy Larner FRSNZ FAcSS FNZGS, Royal Society Te Apārangi President-Elect, will receive the prestigious Victoria Medal from the UK’s Royal Geographical Society.

The Royal Geographical Society was established by Royal Charter in 1830 and the Victoria Medal (first awarded in 1902) is one of its oldest and most distinguished awards.

The medals and awards will be presented at the Royal Geographical Society’s annual general meeting in London in early June. Professor Larner receives the Victoria Medal for her internationally leading research on globalisation and political economy.

Professor Larner describes being recognised by the Royal Geographical Society as a career highlight.

“It is a great honour for my geography colleagues to recognise me for my research contribution. The Victoria Medal has been awarded every year since 1902 and when I look at the list of recipients I have to say all my disciplinary heroes and heroines are on it. I am privileged to be in such amazing company.”

Current Royal Society Te Apārangi President, Professor Richard Bedford, says: “It is an outstanding achievement for a New Zealander and, through her current association with Victoria University of Wellington, for her university.

“Wendy is the second New Zealander to receive the Victoria Medal. The only other recipient is the late Sir Charles Cotton, foundation Professor of Geology at Victoria University of Wellington, whose legacy lives on in the university’s Cotton Building on the Kelburn Campus which also happens to be the home for the university’s School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences.

Professor Larner is only the sixth woman to receive the medal in its 106 year history; it was 92 years before the late Emeritus Professor Doreen Massey, one of the English-speaking world’s most influential geographers, was to be the first woman to receive the Victoria Medal in 1994.

“Wendy is a leading international scholar whose research has transformed understandings of neoliberal globalisation and post-welfarist governance by melding feminist and post-structuralist theories with those of political economy to produce a distinctive and influential set of knowledge practices. More generally she is known for active support of early career colleagues, and her commitment to enhancing diversity in her discipline and institutions,” says Professor Bedford.

“The Victoria Medal caps a very influential international contribution by Wendy both to geography and to the social sciences more generally.”

Victoria University of Wellington Vice-Chancellor Professor Grant Guilford says the medal is a much-warranted accolade for Professor Larner.

“It is wonderful to see her work and leadership being recognised in this way by such an eminent and influential institution.”

Professor Larner will take on the role as President of Royal Society Te Apārangi in July. She joined Victoria University of Wellington as Provost in 2015 from the University of Bristol in the UK, where she was the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law, and Professor of Human Geography and Sociology.

Professor Larner is an internationally respected social scientist whose research sits in the interdisciplinary fields of globalisation, governance and gender.

She completed her BSocSci at the University of Waikato, MA (First Class Hons) at the University of Canterbury, and her PhD as a Canadian Commonwealth Scholar at Carleton University in Ottawa. Before her appointment to Bristol University, she held academic positions at the University of Waikato and the University of Auckland, and Visiting Fellowships at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the United States, Queen Mary University in the UK, and the University of Frankfurt in Germany.

Professor Larner’s research has been recognised with a range of scholarships and awards, including a Fulbright Senior Fellowship, Fellow of the New Zealand Geographical Society, Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand, and Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (UK).

She was recently appointed to the social sciences panel for the latest round of the UK’s Research Excellence Framework—the system for assessing the quality of research in the country’s higher education institutions.

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