Media Advisory 26 June 2017

26 June 2017

Waikato and Synthase Biotech form research partnership
The University of Waikato and Synthase Biotech have signed a binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that provides a foundation to work collaboratively on important scientific and technological research with clear commercial targets. The MoU will strengthen a long-standing collaboration between the University and Synthase, underpinning joint research in industrial enzymology. The research will initially focus on enhancing Synthase’s AloxsynTM proprietary enzyme technology, with a plan to develop fast, efficient and stable enzymes for a range of commercial applications. The University will contribute research expertise in this area while Synthase will provide insights into industry needs, a channel to market for commercial enzyme technology, and co-invest in research and intellectual property protection. Synthase is currently commercialising an enzyme that has strong specificity and high rates of reaction against toxic lipid peroxides, which result from oxidative stress in cells.
Contact: Alison Robertson, 07 858 5135, 027 309 4420, or alison.robertson@waikato.ac.nz

Predator control expert to speak at BOP kiwi conservation event
Predator control expert Professor Carolyn (Kim) King from the University of Waikato will be guest speaker at an event hosted by the Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust in Tauranga this week. The Trust is celebrating 15 years of successful predator control and restoration of the 1200-hectare Otanewainuku forest in the Bay of Plenty, which now hosts a breeding population of North Island brown kiwi and kokako. Professor King has studied introduced predators and their management and written several books, including The Drama of Conservation. She researches the ecology of small rodents and mustelids, especially stoats and weasels. The event will be held on Wednesday 28 June at 6.30pm in H110 (next to the Atrium) at Toi Ohomai’s Windermere Campus, 70 Windermere Drive, Tauranga.
Contact: Kiri Diamond, kdiamond@waikato.ac.nz, 0210305076 or Anthea McLeary, anthea.mcleary@waikato.ac.nz, 0220681069

Entrepreneur for a Day Challenge
Secondary school students in years 10-13 are invited to take part in Waikato Management School’s ‘Entrepreneur for a Day Challenge’. Students don’t have to have any knowledge of business to take part. The event involves students working in small groups to develop a new product idea that has real market potential. At the end of the day, the groups will pitch their product ideas to a panel of judges to be in to win some great prizes.  The event will take place on Friday July 21 from 10am to 4pm at Waikato Management School on Hillcrest Road.  To register to participate in the challenge, please visit: management.ac.nz/entrepreneur. There are limited places.
Contact: Joanna Green, 07 858 5080, or Joanna.green@waikato.ac.nz

Waikato obtains European Union's Horizon 2020 ERA-GAS funding 
University of Waikato researchers, led by Associate Professor David Campbell from the Faculty of Science and Engineering, have obtained funding under the European Union's Horizon 2020 ERA-GAS funding (Monitoring & Mitigation of Greenhouse Gases from Agri- and Silvi-Culture), as part of the international PEATWISE consortium. PEATWISE partners include research organisations and universities from Norway, Finland, Sweden, The Netherlands and Denmark. Research will focus on improving national greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories and mitigating emissions utilising good farm management practices. The New Zealand funding NZ$483,000 over three years) will be contracted to the Ministry of Primary Industries and starts in July. Dr Campbell says the exciting aspect of this new funding is the expansion of the research team’s agricultural GHG research programme into drained peat soils. Peat soils, while making up a small percentage of New Zealand soil types, make a disproportionately large contribution to soil CO2 emissions.
Contact: Associate Professor David Campbell, 07 858 5189, 027 420 0274, or    david.campbell@waikato.ac.nz

NZ Pacific Aid Scholarship – for a second time
I-Kiribati Political Science student Abiteta Teitibwebwe, known as Bibi, has been awarded a New Zealand Aid Pacific Scholarship High Achiever Award for the second time. The Political Science Student is in the second year of her BA and also won the scholarship during her first year. The $1500 scholarship is awarded through New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and recipients are expected to upskill and take their knowledge back to their country of origin. Bibi says she’s always been interested in global politics and once she’s finished her degree would like to work for the Foreign Affairs and Immigration Ministry in Kiribati, but she’s also keen to continue her university education so hasn’t ruled out further study.
Contact: Alison Robertson on 07 858 5135, 027 309 4420, alison.robertson@waikato.ac.nz

Avocado study for Fieldays scholarship winner
Masters student Shannon Hunter is researching whether the pathogen causing root-rot disease in avocado is building up resistance to the fungicide currently used to protect avocado trees. The University of Waikato Masters student was awarded a $22,000 New Zealand Agricultural Fieldays Sir Don Llewellyn Scholarship to assist her research.  The species that causes the disease is Phytophthora cinnamomi. The fungicide used to manage it, phosphite, is widely used across all agricultural sectors for disease management. Shannon’s project involves collaboration with the NZ Avocado Industry Research Council and Phytophthora experts Dr Peter Scott and Dr Rebecca McDougal at Scion. The scholarship will fund a research trip to USA later in the year where she will work with researchers from the University of California, Riverside to test their cultures from avocado orchards, and the University of California, Berkeley to test other important species for phosphite resistance.
Contact: Shannon Hunter on 027 330 5716, or shannonhunter16@gmail.com

Major conference secured for the Waikato
The Waikato region has secured a major conference that will put the region on the world map and could deliver up to $1.7 million to the economy. Tourism New Zealand worked with the University of Waikato and Hamilton and Waikato Tourism to secure the annual Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) conference scheduled for June 2019 and as many as 800 indigenous studies experts are expected to attend. Dean of the Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies, Professor Brendan Hokowhitu’s long relationship with NAISA was instrumental in securing the event which has never been held outside North America.
Contact: Alison Robertson, 07 858 5135, 027 309 4420, or alison.robertson@waikato.ac.nz

Singing her way to success
Soprano Madison Nonoa-Horsefield has been awarded $5000 to support her Masters of Music Programme at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. She’s been awarded a Patricia Pratt Scholarship to support her study on the Guildhall’s Opera Studies Masters programme, which accepts 12 students a year from an international pool of applicants. The University of Waikato student is a former member of the New Zealand Youth Choir, and an alumna of the New Zealand Singing School. Last year she was a Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artist with New Zealand Opera, and placed third in the Lexus Song Quest, also winning the Dame Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation scholarship for the Most Promising Singer. The scholarship was established by Annette Campbell-White, founder of the Kia Ora Foundation, in memory of her mother Patricia Pratt.  It assists outstanding young New Zealand musicians to continue their musical development at a renowned international music school or conservatorium.
Contact: Madison Nonoa-Horsefield on 022 59145, or m.nonoa02@waikato.ac.nz

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