Dr Ed Hearnshaw Prize for Economics and the Environment

A prize to reward innovative thinking in environmental or ecological economics

The NZ Government Economics Network (GEN) is pleased to launch a new prize to commemorate Dr Ed Hearnshaw’s significant contribution to the fields of applied economics and environmental policy in New Zealand.

If you’re excited about using economics, policy design and/or behavioural psychology to explore and consider the environmental, sustainability or climate change problems New Zealand faces, then this prize is aimed at you. This year’s topic is: What policy settings will nudge Kiwi consumers towards choices that result in lower greenhouse gas emissions?

Open to young New Zealanders — tertiary students, recent graduates, junior-level professionals — you can enter by submitting a short essay on our first environmental topic, described in full below, by 11 January 2021.

Dr Ed Hearnshaw Prize for Economics, Environment, Climate Change, Sustainability from Government Economics Network GEN student prize and professional award

2021 essay topic for the Dr Ed Hearnshaw Prize

Nudging us: How can government policy interventions encourage kiwi consumers to make choices that result in lower greenhouse gas emissions?

Outline a policy intervention, based on insights from behavioural and/or environmental or ecological economics that influences the behaviour of individuals, which government agencies could develop further into a policy proposal.
Explain the outcomes sought and the incentives in play on the parties you’re aiming to influence.

As an optional extra: if you have clear ideas on what successful implementation could look like, please consider this too.

Eligibility and how to enter


Entry is open to:
1. all under and post graduate university students engaged in tertiary study (diploma, bachelors, masters or PhD level) at a NZ tertiary education institution
2. all tertiary education graduates (NZ or overseas) who were enrolled between Jan 2018 – Jan 2020, and
3. all employees in, or contractors to, NZ public sector agencies, research agencies, consultancies and businesses in the first 3 years of their professional working career.

Prize value

NZD$2000 for the winning essay

Due date for entries

11 January 2021, midnight NZ time

How to enter this prize

Email your essay (2000-4000 words) to info@gen.org.nz by 11 January 2021. Late entries will not be considered.

Your questions

Email your questions to info@gen.org.nz any time before entries close.

Judging panel and criteria

A specially-appointed panel of 3 people will judge entries against strict criteria.

Entries will be judged for their practicality, innovation and clarity.

Winner announcement

The winner and shortlisted entries will be:
• announced at the GEN conference
• published on the GEN website
• shared with the Ministry for the Environment.

Winner to present at GEN conference

GEN will award the prize at the annual GEN2021 conference held at Te Papa, Wellington on 25 February 2021 and will invite the winner to give a short presentation to the conference on their essay (10 minutes max, support will be given to create a presentation).

Full prize regulations

We recommend reading the prize regulations for more detailed criteria.

Sponsors of this award

This award is sponsored by John and Vickie Hearnshaw and GEN, and is supported by the Ministry for the Environment.

Thanks also to Renée Feith Design for graphics and marketing materials (021 0278 4214).

Tell your friends and colleagues

The value in the prize for GEN, and New Zealand, is in the strength and range of ideas presented and debated.

We hope that some of the ideas and perspectives surfaced will have the potential to impact future policymaking in New Zealand.

We want to attract high calibre applicants from a diverse range of networks, workplaces and backgrounds.

To this end, GEN, as a charity, would really appreciate if you could help us get the word out in these 4 ways:

1. Share this web page with interested people, managers, HODs or other influencers

If you know someone, who is eligible, please send them the link to this web page: https://gen.org.nz/dr-ed-hearnshaw-annual-prize/

2. Share our posts on your social media

Like and share GEN’s LinkedIn post about the prize with your social media networks: GEN post on LinkedIn

3. Put this poster on your noticeboard

Print and hang this 2021 Prize Poster at your place of study or work.

4. Post this prize info on your intranet or newsletter

Info about the prize for your intranet or newsletter

About Dr Ed Hearnshaw and his work

Dr Ed was a highly regarded public sector economist who spent many years working within the Ministry for the Environment offering insightful and rigorous economic analysis across environmental economics topics, most recently co-leading the economic evidence base to support the Zero Carbon Act. His more recent role was as Chief Economics Advisor to the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

Ed died tragically at 43 in a tramping accident, in June 2020. Ed is remembered with appreciation and admiration for the pioneering approach he took to applying economics to the biggest environmental challenges of our time, across his work at the PCE, MfE, and prior to that at Lincoln University.

He had a thirst for knowledge and a passion for applying economics to lift the effectiveness of environmental policy. Softly spoken, but with a formidable brain and staunch in his convictions, Ed was also generous with his time and attention, mentoring many more junior colleagues. Ed had joined the GEN Board early in 2020 and was closely involved in designing the upcoming GEN2021 conference. Ed was a dear friend to many across the economics and policy community here in New Zealand.

Read more about Dr Ed on the PCE website