$85m awarded in Marsden Fund grants – In the News

A total of 136 research projects from around New Zealand, ranging from virtual pregnancy to studying volcanoes from a ‘waka-lab’, have been given a funding boost in the latest round of the Marsden Fund.

The fund, managed by the Royal Society Te Apārangi on behalf of the government, awarded $85.6 million (excluding GST) to the three-year long projects, 53 of which are by early-career researchers.

Projects span a range of national and international issues: from a longitudinal study of self-harm and suicidal behaviour in New Zealand youth to building a better ‘immune system’ for software, and from exploring the quantum entanglement of individual atoms to examining the survival of life in the harsh conditions of Antarctica’s Dry Valleys.

Marsden Fund Council Chair Professor David Bilkey was pleased to see steadily increasing representation of women and Māori amongst the successful researchers.

“It is also gratifying that Marsden Fund applicants who identify as female or Māori have been as successful as male and non-Māori applicants over the past five years,” he said.

There was a strong engagement with mātauranga Māori in applications, he said. “These range from a study of Māori responses to 20th century welfare policies to the use of a waka-based craft to access and investigate remote volcanoes.”

Volcanologist Ian Schipper from Victoria University has been awarded $928,000 to build a mobile volcano observatory in Melanesia using modern waka to study volcanoes in the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Dr Alys Clark, from the Auckland Bioengineering Institute, and Dr Jo James, from the University of Auckland, were awarded $954,000 for an international research project to study how changes in the blood flow affect a mother’s ability to nourish her baby, RNZ reported.

The University of Otago received the largest funding boost yet, securing $28.5m for 41 projects, including how judicial questions influence jurors, whale evolution, and understanding men’s mental health.

More about the grants can be found here.

The announcement was widely reported by local media, including: 

Radio NZ: Virtual pregnancy, loot boxes and dark web among research granted funding
NZ Herald: Volcanoes, super-glasses and the dark net: Ten of NZ’s boldest new research projects
Stuff: Marsden Fund: World-first virtual uterus to be built in New Zealand
Otago Daily Times: Biggest Marsden funding boost yet for Otago uni researchers
RNZ Nine to Noon: When Gaming and Gambling collide
Māori TV: Researchers secure Marsden funding for Whānau Ora project