AUT has bestowed its top award on an economist hailed for her research, scholarship and application of integrated data to help inform social policy and wellbeing.
Professor of Economics Gail Pacheco has been awarded the 2019 AUT University Medal.
Part of the annual AUT Excellence Awards, which recognise and celebrate excellence in the University’s community, the University Medal is given in recognition of sustained and exceptional academic achievement. AUT Vice-Chancellor Derek McCormack hosted a capacity crowd at this evening’s ceremony.
A member of AUT’s School of Business and Economics for nearly two decades, Professor Pacheco is an internationally respected research leader and scholar. For the past six years Pacheco has been Director of AUT’s NZ Work Research Institute, and she has recently been appointed a commissioner at the NZ Productivity Commission.
In 2018, Pacheco received the Economics Award from the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the advancement of economics and its applications in New Zealand.
Pacheco says she is driven by a passion for using evidence to inform policy and help bring about positive social change. Born and raised in the Middle Eastern country of Kuwait, her own experiences as a refugee during the Gulf War in the 1990s brought her face-to-face with the trauma of economic disruption and geographic displacement.
“Those childhood experiences have imbued in me a sense of empathy and resilience, as well as a profound awareness of the role of economic stability for a wide range of life-course outcomes.”
In presenting the award, the Vice-Chancellor applauded Pacheco for the real-life value of her enquiry-driven work, as well as the role her applied econometric work plays in informing policy for a better New Zealand.
Pacheco acknowledged her many colleagues and collaborators whose dedication and expertise underpin her own contributions and achievements. Read more about Professor Gail Pacheco
Established in 2012, the annual AUT Excellence Awards celebrate the University's outstanding teachers, researchers and professional staff.
Introduced in 2013, the University Medal is the pre-eminent academic award of AUT. It is presented to a member of the University community in recognition of sustained and outstanding contributions to AUT that reflect and enhance the academic development and reputation of the University.