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The Beaven Medal

HRC Beaven medal

The Beaven Medal was established in 2010 to recognise excellence in translational health research, that has had high impact on clinical practice and patient health. The medal commemorates the work of the late Professor Sir Donald Ward Beaven and his interest in translating research into the clinic, as part of the pathway to positive health outcomes.

The Beaven Medal is for an individual or research team who are "champions in the community" and best demonstrate over their career: translation of research into clinical practice; how updates/changes to guidelines have been implemented; knowledge mobilisation; engagement with community and providers of clinical health care; and a commitment to making a difference to the health outcomes and lives of all patients. 

Call for nominations

Nominations are now called for the 2024 Beaven Medal.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Self-nominations are acceptable.
  • Nominees (individuals or team) are eligible to receive the Liley and Beaven medals more than once with a five-year stand down period following receipt of either award (for example, if awarded in 2019, nominees are ineligible, if awarded in 2018, nominees are eligible).
  • Current Health Research Council members are not eligible to receive any HRC medals while in post.
  • An assessing committee will be convened to discuss the nominations before making their recommendations to Council. The award is open for nominations annually but may be held over at the discretion of Council if it is deemed no applications meet the criteria.

Nominations should include:

  • name and contact details of the nominee
  • a brief statement of how the nominee has addressed the following (3 pages max.): 
    - demonstrated knowledge mobilisation and translation of research into clinical practice; influence on health policies/practice and how guidelines have been implemented
    - provided evidence of engagement with community partners and/or healthcare providers and end users
    - how work has made a difference and had high impact to improve health outcomes, quality of life, the economy and society in Aotearoa New Zealand
    - how the research has contributed to Māori heath advancement
    - how the research has contributed to reducing inequity in research benefits and/or health for groups or communities with evidenced inequitable health outcomes in Aotearoa New Zealand
    - how the researcher is a “champion in the community”
  • supporting and selected (rather than comprehensive) evidence of translation of research into clinical practice, may also be included.

Nominations close at 1pm Wednesday 1 May 2024 and should be directed to Dr Katie Palastanga via email at If nominating a colleague, nominators must inform the nominee. The 2024 Beaven Medal will be presented at a Research Honours Aotearoa Dinner at an event/s later in the year. Accommodation and transport will be arranged for the recipient and partner (or two representatives from the team). 

Beaven Medal - previous recipients

2023 - Professor Beverley Lawton (Te Aitanga a Hauiti) from Victoria University of Wellington, Te Herenga Waka, for her work and advocacy in women's health that has had real-world impact through the translation of her research into clinical practice, particularly in the areas of cervical cancer prevention and maternal health outcomes for wāhine Māori.

2022 - Associate Professor Nigel Wilson from Starship Children’s Health for his groundbreaking research to help children in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands battling rheumatic fever and its subsequent damaging heart disease. 

2021 - Professor Lesley McCowan and team from the University of Auckland for their research which identified that pregnant women who went to sleep lying on their backs had an increased risk of stillbirth after 28 weeks of pregnancy, and for the subsequent development of a national public awareness campaign to get pregnant women sleeping on their side to reduce this risk.

2020 - No Beaven Medal awarded.

2019 - Professor Richard Beasley from the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand received the Beaven Medal for helping halt an epidemic of asthma deaths in New Zealand and going on to change the way the world manages asthma, saving hundreds of thousands of lives in the process.

2018 - Dr Colin McArthur from the Auckland District Health Board received the Beaven Medal for his lead role in several multi-centre internationally-recognised trials that have changed guidelines and practices in intensive care units in New Zealand and abroad.

2017 - Professor Alistair Gunn from the University of Auckland received the Beaven Medal for pioneering the use of mild cooling to treat babies with brain injuries at birth.

2016 -  Distinguished Professor Jane Harding from the Liggins Institute at the University of Auckland received the Beaven Medal for her ground-breaking research into treating babies with low blood sugar levels.

2015 - Professor Ed Mitchell from the University of Auckland/Auckland District Health Board received the Beaven Medal for his ground-breaking research into cot death (now known as sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS), which has saved many thousands of young lives.

2013 - Professor Parry Guilford from Otago University was presented with the Beaven Medal for his outstanding research into stomach cancer.

2011 - Professor Edward Gane from Auckland City Hospital received the Beaven Medal for his research into whether better surveillance can prevent liver cancer and death in Māori with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection.

2010 - The inaugural Beaven Medal for excellence in translational research was presented to Dr Martin Than, a consultant specialist in emergency medicine at the Canterbury District Health Board, for research that will provide an innovative and workable change to the medical decision-making process for patients presenting acutely to emergency departments, with chest pain, that may be due to a heart attack.