School of Psychology - Leading psychological science, scholarship and practice


Notable achievements, awards and rankings

Most of our academic staff have impressive international research reputations, and several are recognised among the world leaders in their fields. Our teaching is very highly regarded, and we have several winners of Distinguished Teaching Awards on our staff. Find below some quick facts about recent notable achievements of our staff and students, as well as information about our performance in international university rankings.

International ranking (2016 QS World University Rankings)


  • The University of Auckland is first among the eight New Zealand universities
  • The University was placed 29th in Psychology in the worldwide 2016 QS World University Rankings® Life Sciences subject ranking, making the School of Psychology the top-ranked department in the Faculty of Science.

Find the QS World University Rankings online

Notable achievements of our staff


  • Professor Donna Rose Addis
    • 2015 Australasian Cognitive Neuroscience Society Young Investigator Award
    • 2015 Cognitive Neuroscience Society Young Investigator Award
    • 2011 The University of Auckland Early Career Research Excellence Award
    • Named 2011 “Rising Star” by the Association for Psychological Science
    • Named one of New Zealand’s 2011 Influencers, Unlimited Magazine
    • 2010 Prime Minister’s MacDiarmid Emerging Scientist Prize
    • 2010 Rutherford Discovery Fellowship
  • Associate Professor Quentin Atkinson
    • Rutherford Discovery Fellow 2012-2017
  • Associate Professor Virginia Braun
    • 2015 Appointed Associate Dean Equity in the Faculty of Science
  • Associate Professor Helena Cooper-Thomas
    • 2014 awarded, with Dr Sarah Wright (Canterbury) the best paper in the Journal of Managerial Psychology for Cooper-Thomas & Wright (2013).
    • 2013 awarded, with colleagues, the William A. Owens Scholarly Achievement Award for from the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology for the best refereed journal publication in the field of industrial and organizational. The publication was Chen, Ployhart, Cooper-Thomas, Anderson, and Bliese (2011).
  • Associate Professor Doug Elliffe
    • 2016 Appointed Deputy Dean, Faculty of Science
    • 2015 Appointed Associate Dean Doctoral in the Faculty of Science
  • Professor Nicola Gavey
    • 2016 Received one of only 50 'Women of Achievement' awards from Zonta New Zealand
  • Professor Russell Gray
    • 2012 Mason Durie Medal, awarded by the Royal Society of New Zealand
  • Associate Professor Niki Harré
    • 2015 Appointed Associate Dean Sustainability in the Faculty of Science
    • 2010 University of Auckland Sustained Excellence in Teaching Award
  • Dr Annette Henderson
    • 2015 Rutherford Discovery Fellowship
    • 2013 Dean's Award for Teaching Excellence (Early Career)
  • Associate Professor Ian Lambie
    • 2016 Appointed Justice Sector Science Advisor to the Government
    • 2012 The William Friedrich Memorial Child Sexual Abuse Research and Treatment Award by the American Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma|
  • Bianca Jackson
    • 2012 New Zealand Speech-language Therapists’ Association Professor Sir Donald Beaven Memorial Award.
  • Dr Suresh Muthukumaraswamy
    • 2013 Rutherford Discovery Fellowship
  • Associate Professor Nickola Overall
    • 2016, Gerald R. Miller Award for Early Career Achievement, International Association of Relationship Research
    • 2015, Awarded Fellow, Association of Psychological Science
    • 2014, Caryl Rusbult Close Relationships Early Career Award, Society for Personality and Social Psychology
    • 2014, Awarded Fellow, Society of Personality and Social Psychology
    • 2013, Faculty of Science Dean’s Award for Sustained Excellence in Teaching
    • 2011, named “Rising Star”, Association for Psychological Science
    • 2010, Awarded Fellow, Society of Experimental Social Psychology
    • 2010, University of Auckland Early Career Excellence in Teaching Award
  • Professor Suzanne Purdy 
    • 2015 Appointed Chair of International Evoked Response Audiometry Study Group (IERASG)
    • 2013 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association award for 2012 Top 5 article
    • 2012 New Zealand Speech-language Therapists’ Association Marion Saunders Literary Award (with Robin McDaniel)
    • 2012 Most read article in 2012 for the International Journal of Audiology
    • 2010 SciVerse Science Direct Top 25 Hottest Articles Arts and Humanities April to June 2010
    • Recognised by The Hearing Journal in ‘The Best of Audiology Literature’ 2009, 2007, 2006 and 2005
    • 2005 Awarded Inaugural Outstanding Service Award, New Zealand Audiological Society
    • 2005 Achieved Elsevier Top 25 Hottest Articles on ScienceDirect Oct-Dec 2005
    • 2004 Awarded Certificate of Outstanding Service, Audiological Society of Australia
    • 1999 Awarded Honorary Membership, New Zealand Audiological Society
  • Associate Professor Chris Sibley
    • 2014 Erik Erikson Early Career Award, International Society of Political Psychology
    • 2013 Temepleton World Charity Foundation Grant with Joseph Bulbulia and Geoff Troughton
    • 2011 named “Rising Star”, Association for Psychological Science
    • 2010 University of Auckland Early Career Research Excellence Award
  • Dr Alex Taylor
    • 2015 Recipient of the Prime Minister’s MacDiamid Emerging Scientist Prize
    • 2014 Rutherford Discovery Fellowship
  • Dr Gwenda Willis
    • 2015 Rutherford Discovery Fellowship

Marsden grants


Marsden Grant Recipients

2015

  • Associate Professor Chris Sibley and Dr Carla Houkamau, How great can we be? Identity leaders of the Maori economic renaissance

2013

  • Dr Annette Henderson: Shaping Cooperation: Identifying how genes, experience, and socio-cognitive ability influence the development of cooperation in early childhood.
  • Associate Professor Quentin Atkinson: Tongues, trees and Bayesian inference - towards a global language phylogeny'

2012

2011

Notable achievements of our students


  • Matt Hammond (PhD student with Associate Professor Nikola Overall): 2015 Vice Chancellor's Award for Best Doctoral Thesis
  • Aleea Devitt (PhD student with Prof Donna Rose Addis): 2015 HOPE scholarship for Aging Research 
  • Eleanor Moloney (PhD student with Prof Donna Rose Addis): 2014 Best Student Talk Prize at KiwiCAM conference
  • Inge Strauss (Honours student with Prof Donna Rose Addis): 2014 Best Poster Prize at KiwiCAM conference
  • Victoria McLelland (PhD student with Prof Donna Rose Addis): 2013 Vice Chancellor’s Award for Best Doctoral Thesis
  • Eleanor Moloney (PhD student with Prof Donna Rose Addis): 2013 Winifred Gimblett Scholarship
  • Aleea Devitt (PhD student with Prof Donna Rose Addis): 2013 Faculty of Science Post-Graduate Poster Competition – Third Place
  • Victoria Martin (PhD student with Prof Donna Rose Addis): 2012 Laird S. Cermak Award for the best research presented in the area of memory at the International Neuropsychological Society Mid-Year Meeting
  • Valerie van Mulukom (PhD student with Prof Donna Rose Addis): 2012 ASSBI Travel Award for the best abstract submitted by a student at the International Neuropsychological Society Mid-Year Meeting
  • Peter Bull (Postgraduate student with Prof Donna Rose Addis): 2012 Kevin Walsh award for the best abstract submitted by either an Honours of Masters student at the International Neuropsychological Society Mid-Year Meeting
  • Sarah Cowie (PhD student with Professor Michael Davison and Associate Professor Douglas Elliffe): Best Student Paper – Basic Research prize at the 2012 NZABA Conference
  • Rebecca Sharp (PhD student with Dr Oliver Mudford and Associate Professor Douglas Elliffe): Best Student Paper – Applied Research prize at the 2012 NZABA Conference
  • Ying Wang (PhD Student with Dr Annette Henderson): Merit award at the 2012 Faculty of Science Postgraduate Poster Competition and entry into the 2012 EXPOSURE Postgraduate Research Exposition
  • Kelsey Deane (PhD student with Associate Professor Niki Harré): 1st prize in the poster section of the 2011 EXPOSURE Postgraduate Research Exposition and a special prize for "Contribution to the Advancement of Social Development"; 2nd prize in the 2011 Faculty of Science Postgraduate Poster Competition
  • John Bai (PhD student with Dr Chris Podlesnik): Best Presentation for a basic researcher at the 2011 New Zealand Association for Behaviour Analysis (NZABA) Conference
  • Nathan Ryckman (PhD student with Associate Professor Tony Lambert): Recipient of the 2013 Commonwealth Scholarship for the University of Auckland.