Media Advisory 18 July

We need to change the way we teach doctors
Why do we have a $400,000 small-town GP job no-one wants? Professor of Population Health Ross Lawrenson says we aren’t meeting our current medical workforce needs and that part of the reason for that lies in the way we’re training our doctors. He will discuss the problems in the current medical education system, and propose some solutions, at his Inaugural Professorial Lecture tomorrow, 19 July, 5.15pm at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts. Inaugural Professorial Lectures are the University of Waikato’s way of introducing new professors to the community. Lectures are free and open to the public.
Contact: Nicola Lee, 07 838 4401, or

Unlocking curious minds through robotics
News that the government will add digital technologies to the New Zealand school curriculum by 2018 has been welcomed by two University of Waikato academics who have already started ramping up digital capability in low decile primary schools and kura in the Waikato region. Associate Professor Garry Falloon from Education and computer scientist Nilesh Kanji have been awarded $30,000 as part of MBIE’s Unlocking Curious Minds Contestable Funding and are going into schools to run ‘Roboshops’, teaching children between 7 and 12 years the basics of coding and applying that to control robots such as spheros, droids, and ollies. There are eight schools involved in the programme that involves five two-hour workshops. Dr Falloon hopes this initial programme will be a “scoping exercise” that he and Mr Kanji will be able to refine and extend to more schools, particularly in rural areas.
Contact: Associate Professor Garry Falloon, 07  858 5171, 027 422 8198, or or Nilesh Kanji, 07 858 5047, or

Pacific students get boost to study
Applications are open for the University of Waikato’s Edna Money Future Pacific Leaders’ Scholarship, a scholarship that provides support for Pacific students to achieve academically and develop leadership skills through a tailored leadership and personal development programme. The scholarship, worth $6000 a year for up to three years, is given to students of Pacific descent who excel academically and demonstrate significant leadership potential. It was established from a $1million bequest by the late Morrinsville farmer and accountant Edna Money, who passed away in 2013 aged 94. Applications for the Edna Money Future Pacific Leaders’ Scholarship close 31 August. More information about the scholarship and how to apply can be found on the university’s website.
Contact: Melody Downs, 07 838 4094, or

Waikato achieves international gold standard for public relations
The University of Waikato’s Management Communication Department has cemented its leading position as the only department in Australasia certified by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) – a global organisation that sets the gold standard for excellence in public relations education. Waikato is one of 37 universities in the world and one of only five outside the United States to be awarded PRSA certification, the Certification in Education for Public Relations (CEPR), which it achieved for the first time in 2009. PRSA is the world’s largest organisation for public relations professionals, with more than 22,000 members and 10,000 affiliated students. PRSA certification is a voluntary accreditation programme that recognises the quality of Waikato Management School’s public relations programme in terms of teaching, practical student experiences and academic research. The Management Communication Department goes through a re-certification review process by the PRSA Educational Affairs committee every six years.
Contact: Joanna Green, 07 837 9437, or

University research proposals through to MBIE second round
Four University of Waikato research applications for MBIE Smart Ideas funding have made it through to the second round. Smart Ideas funding focuses on the connection between applied research and commercialisation. Two of the projects were led by Professor Craig Cary – one on ocean acidification and another on the economic potential of geothermal microbial ecosystems, one was led by emerging researcher Dr Lee Streeter on 3D imaging technology, and one was led by Dr Fei Yang on novel heat sink technology and materials. The four projects submitted full proposals to the Science Board in June and will be advised of its decision in September.
Contact: Ann Huston, 07 838 4775, or

Hodor wins Cyber Security Challenge
Team Hodor from Gallagher was the winner of the 2016 Cyber Security Challenge held at the University of Waikato last week. The runner-up was 17-year-old Michael Robertson from Cambridge High School who also won scholarships to the Faculty of Computing and Mathematical Sciences. The challenge attracted entrants from all over New Zealand, with 150 contestants from secondary schools, universities and industry battling it out in online cyber challenges. For more information visit
Contact: Ann Huston, 07 838 4775, or

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