Newsletter Digest: Marsen Fund winners, sea level rise, and flu co-infection

Marsden grant winners revealed next week

Next Friday will see the public release of details about the winners of the latest Marsden Fund investment round.

Journalists registered with the Royal Society will receive embargoed copies of individual funding announcements from next Tuesday. Contact RSNZ communications manager Philippa Sargent for more details.

Marsden is the largest pool of funds available for “blue skies” research in the country and competition for grant money is fierce. Last year the Marsden Fund invested $66 million in 111 research projects at New Zealand universities and Crown Research Institutes.

Here are the details of the 2009 funding round. Check out for commentary from the bloggers on new research that received funding.

Briefing  – Sea level rise: what can we expect?

One of the consequences of climate change identified by scientists is a rise in sea levels globally that, depending on the extent of the rise, could have implications for coastal settlements.

Scientists have established that tidal records from around the world suggest sea levels have risen over the last century at a rate of 1.7mm per year with New Zealand close to the global trend.

That doesn’t sound like much, but what about the next 100 years? The causes of sea level rise over the last 50 years have just recently become better understood, the rise in large part attributed to thermal expansion of oceans due to warming and loss of land-based ice in Greenland and Antarctica.

A Science Media Centre briefing for journalists featuring experts from Victoria University and NIWA will give an update on the latest international science on sea level change, explain the level of certainty the science gives and examine potential scenarios for New Zealand.

Journalists registered with the SMC will receive briefing details. For further information contact the SMC.

ESR research looks at flu co-infection

Findings from a study by scientists at Environmental Science & Research suggests that, in rare cases where seasonal flu sufferers are also afflicted with swine flu at the same time, the combination could lead to a newer variant of flu that is more difficult to treat.

The research was published this week in the Centre for Disease Control’s journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. ESR scientist Matthew Peacey, who was lead author on the paper, said:

“The worry here is this event could give rise to a more virulent influenza strain, such as a pandemic strain that is resistant to Tamiflu, and so needs to be monitored closely.” Further details on the SMC website.

The full newsletter can be found in the SMC archives