Ray Avery (scientist)

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Sir Raymond John "Ray" Avery GNZM (born 1947[1]) is a pharmaceutical scientist, inventor, and social entrepreneur from Mount Eden in Auckland, New Zealand.

Personal life[edit]

After spending his childhood in English orphanages and foster homes, Avery developed his interest in science at the age of 14 while living rough in London and finding warmth in public libraries.[2] He now mentors young people, speaking regularly at schools and universities.[3]

In 2010, Avery published his bestselling autobiography Rebel with a Cause,[4] which charts his life from childhood in English orphanages and foster homes to Knighthood.[5]


Avery is a successful pharmaceutical scientist, inventor and social entrepreneur, a founding member of the Auckland University School of Medicine Department of Clinical Pharmacology, and former technical director of Douglas Pharmaceuticals, who over the past 30 years has made a major contribution to the development of New Zealand’s domestic and export pharmaceutical industry.[6]

As Technical Director of the Fred Hollows Foundation, Avery designed and commissioned two state of the art intraocular lens manufacturing facilities in Asmara, Eritrea and Kathmandu, Nepal, and developed novel low cost lens manufacturing technologies, systems, and global distribution networks. The Fred Hollows Foundation laboratories now provide 13% of the world market for intraocular lenses and use technology invented and gifted by Avery.[7]

The mass introduction of regulatory-approved low-cost high-quality Fred Hollows lenses collapsed the global price of lenses, making modern cataract surgery accessible to the world's poorest.

In 2003, Avery founded the international development organisation Medicine Mondiale dedicated to making quality healthcare and equipment accessible to even the poorest developing nations around the world.[8]

In 2009, Avery received a World Class New Zealand Award [9] in the Life Sciences category.

He has also been Chair of the World Class New Zealand Steering Committee.[10]

Sir Ray is Deputy Chair of The New Zealand Health Innovation Hub.[11]


Some of Avery’s inventions include:[12]


Avery has received awards including:

Year Award Notes
2008 Rotary Paul Harris Medal
2008 Bayer Research and Development Innovator Award Acuset flow controller
2009 World Class New Zealand Award for Biotechnology
2010 TBWA Disruption Award
2010 KiwiBank New Zealander of the Year[2] For designing technology used to produce low-cost intraocular lenses
2010 Sir Peter Blake Leadership Medal[16]
2011 Ernst and Young Social Entrepreneur Award
2011 Readers Digest New Zealand's Most Trusted Person
2011 Knight Grand Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit[17] for his services to philanthropy


External links[edit]