Prime Minister’s MacDiarmid Emerging Scientist Prize

12 November 2015

For an outstanding emerging scientist undertaking research in New Zealand for a PhD, or graduates within 5 years of having completed their PhD.

Awarded to:

Dr Taylor is an exceptional young scientist and researcher. He has studied the cognitive and problem-solving ability of birds, particularly New Caledonian crows, to try to understand how human minds differ from the rest of the animal kingdom and why we think the way we do.

Dr Taylor is at the cutting edge of research on animal thinking, with other leading international researchers using his experimental techniques to make their own research breakthroughs.

His work is also at the forefront of a shift in understanding about how intelligence evolves, and this new knowledge is being applied to other study areas, such as childhood development and artificial intelligence. 

Dr Taylor is already making plans to use his skills in the future to study New Zealand’s native kea. He believes there will be greater appreciation for conservation of the natural world as we learn more about animal intelligence and how their minds work.

Scientific journals across the world have published Alex’s work, which has attracted national and international funding.Beyond his scientific achievements, Alex is a talented science communicator, with videos of his experiments being viewed more than 60 million times globally.