Double awards for Senior Scientist Dr Philip Elmer

7 August 2019

Dr Philip Elmer has received two awards for services to industry – the Sir Brian Elwood Trophy and the AGMARDT Technology Transfer Award.

The Sir Brian Elwood Trophy New Zealand Kiwifruit Industry Innovation Award recognises individual innovation that solves a problem or creates value for the kiwifruit industry and was awarded to Dr Elmer for his role in developing the Psa-combating Aureo®Gold. 

Aureo®Gold was developed in partnership with Zespri/Kiwifruit Vine Health, Plant & Food Research, AgResearch and UPL (formerly Etec Crop Solutions) in response to the onset of Psa, which brought financial hardship to many New Zealand kiwifruit growers. The industry urgently needed more control tools that were safe, bee friendly and maintained the quality of the fruit. 

Aureo®Gold is a biological control with BioGro™ organic certification which will make a valuable contribution to the sustainability of the whole industry.

Dr Elmer expressed his gratitude for the Sir Brian Elwood Trophy and accepted the award on behalf of his whole team for their commitment and passion in developing Aureo®Gold, their fifth biological control product developed for horticultural diseases.

“This award means a huge amount to my team and recognises all the hard work and technical barriers we had to overcome – from the discovery of the biological control agent in 2012 to the commercial product being sold in 2018,” says Dr Elmer.   

The second Award – The New Zealand Institute of Agricultural & Horticultural Science AGMARDT Technology Transfer Award – recognises contributions to the New Zealand horticultural business community through technology transfer. 

The Award was given to Dr Elmer in recognition of his work with growers and industry bodies, successfully communicating with all participants whilst delivering the knowledge and/or products required. Dr Elmer’s work has made a major contribution to the development of biocontrol technologies through the effective transfer of science and technology for industry.

Dr Elmer’s 30 year plus career has focussed on using science to improve how we grow healthy crops and manage diseases in a more sustainable manner. 

Last year he was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Kudos Awards for his contribution to science and was a finalist in the Baldwins Researcher Entrepreneur category of the KiwiNet Commercialisation Awards. Plant & Food Research received the 2017 Prime Minister’s Science Prize for their scientific contribution to saving the kiwifruit industry from the effects of Psa.

The Plant & Food Research biocontrol research programme is funded by Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, Zespri, Kiwifruit Vine Health and the wider kiwifruit industry, with support from scientists at AgResearch, the BioProtection Research Centre and the University of Utrecht (the Netherlands). Aureo®Gold is marketed by UPL (formerly Etec Crop Solutions Ltd).


Photo caption:  Kristy McDonald QC, Chair of Kiwifruit New Zealand, presents the award to Dr Philip Elmer.

Sarah Evans
Senior Communications Advisor, Corporate Communications,
Plant & Food Research Mt Albert,
120 Mt Albert Road, Sandringham
Auckland, 1025, New Zealand
Telephone: +64-9-925-3531
Mobile: +64-21-523-013