2018 Eureka! Hits the Spot - Finalists and Alumni

When we set up Eureka! back in 2011 we were hoping we’d start to build up a group of young New Zealanders who were passionate, eloquent and persuasive about the importance of science, technology, mathematics and engineering for the future of New Zealand and the planet - the people who would carry on the legacy of Sir Paul Callaghan.

Seven Sir Paul Callaghan Eureka! Awards symposia later we now have more than a hundred young people who are out here carrying on his work.

Here’s what they said after this year’s events

Charlie Spicer (Finalist 2018)

I would really like to thank you for all your work on making the Eureka Awards such an amazing experience. The two-day experience was one of the best and most challenging times of my life and I will always remember it! I know it must be a lot of work putting something like this together, but you and your team did an amazing job. I know you have been acknowledged a lot for it but I would like to say again, thanks so much!

I am really looking forward to the next Eureka Awards, and will definitely be taking on the challenge again. Something I would love to encourage others to give a go too, as it really is a challenge worth doing. Allowing people like myself to let loose on a science and technology idea that I am extremely passionate about, we all owe it to you.

Thanks again, for such an amazing experience!

Bronwyn Wilde (Finalist 2018)

 I loved being a part of Eureka! this year. The alumni and organisers are all incredibly friendly, generous and knowledgeable. I have made friends from all over the country - some of whom I already have plans to go and visit!

 Despite not coming from a science degree personally, Eureka! gave me the valuable opportunity to question the economic, social and environmental impacts of science and technology in New Zealand. The Science Leaders Forum and numerous presentations on agriculture gave me real hope for New Zealand's future as forerunners in sustainable agricultural science and technology.

 I look forward to seeing you again next year. Now you can sit back and enjoy the competition without having to worry about the admin side of things!

Ngaa mihi,



Sophie Mance (Finalist 2018)

 Participating in Eureka! for the first time has given me invaluable experience, not only have I had to meticulously research my chosen subject, I also had to put together a presentation on them.

Suddenly it seems, I've realised why science communicators have such a difficult job!

Synthesising all the information into a presentation that's clear and easy to follow was a challenge. I learnt so much from watching other contestants and hope that I can improve in this area next year. I also feel very privileged to have met such an interesting group of finalists and scholarship winners and learnt from them. 

The Governor-General's forum was a great event. I found the discussion really enlightening and thought provoking, forcing me to examine a complex issue from all angles. The opportunity to collaborate with other like-minded students was great, as was the food! 

Kind Regards, 


Seb Hallum Clarke (Finalist 2013)

 It was great to see you and the alumni too!

 The quality of the Eureka! presentations and contestants continues to be very high. Eureka! brings together many of New Zealand’s most promising and eloquent STEM students to connect, share ideas, and have a platform to launch themselves forwards. 

The launch of the Sir Paul Callaghan Eureka! Young Science Leaders Forum by the Governor-General is a great step in expanding the impact of Eureka! By bringing together Eureka! finalists with alumni, high schoolers, educators, and subject matter experts we were able to learn about sustainable agriculture and develop broad-reaching recommendations for government. 

 Eureka! changes lives. The competition gave me a platform to share my thoughts on the STEM topics that matter most for me. This propelled me forwards and snowballed into unlocking awesome professional and academic opportunities. I can directly trace back so many aspects of my life today to Eureka! - back in 2013. 


Jonathan Chan (Finalist 2016 and 2017)

Thanks for the kind words and the incredible memories, Francis. Eureka won't quite be the same without your charisma.

I thought the Forum in particular was a spectacular success - both the collaborative nature of the work as well as the words of the keynote speakers. I thought that the gist of Professor Juliet Gerrard's talk that scientists had to bridge the gap with the public in a trustworthy and effective fashion is certainly part of Eureka's identity, and what makes Eureka, as a national competition, so distinct from other scientific competitions we have.

I hope that's a nice summary but thanks again for all the valuable experiences I've had thanks to Eureka!