Science projects awarded Endeavour funding
16 September 2016
Two University of Waikato-led science projects have been awarded nearly $4 million from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s 2016 Endeavour Fund.
Professor Bruce Clarkson has been awarded $2,862,684 million over four years for a cross-disciplinary programme ‘People, Cities and Nature: restoring indigenous nature in urban environments’ in which researchers will be looking at the best methods to bring nature back into cities.
Professor Clarkson has brought together a “vigorous, highly productive group of urban ecologists” from Waikato, Victoria and Otago universities and Landcare Research.
They’ll be working with seven city councils, the Waikato and Hawke’s Bay regional councils and Wellington’s Zealandia to find the best ways to restore native plant communities, and increase populations of uncommon native bird, lizard and insect species.
A project led by Professor Craig Cary on ocean acidification has been awarded $999,960 of Smart Ideas funding which focuses on the connection between applied research and commercialisation.
Professor Cary’s ocean acidification research is co-led by Waikato’s Professor Conrad Pilditch and is in collaboration with AUT.
“CO2 levels in the atmosphere are increasing and as oceans absorbs more CO2 from the atmosphere, the result is that oceans are beginning to acidify,” says Professor Cary.
“Acidification of the oceans will have damaging effects on the entire ecosystem, which is a big problem as many organisms produce shells made of calcium carbonate and are essential for the ecosystem to function. These organisms will be seriously stressed by ocean acidity.”
This project seeks to understand how ocean acidity affects the functioning of the sediment microbiology where most of the nutrient regeneration for the water column takes place, and will be working on how it might predict and possibility mitigate negative impacts of increased ocean acidity.
The Endeavour Fund, previously known as the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) Contestable Science Fund, is one of the Government’s main mission-led science investments.
There are also many Waikato academics included in sub-contracts with the university’s research partners in CRIs and other universities: Professor Vic Arcus, Dr Mike Clearwater, Associate Professor Merilyn Manley-Harris, Associate Professor Kevin Collier, Associate Professor Ian Hogg, Professor Conrad Pilditch, Associate Professor Sandy Morrison, Associate Professor Maui Hudson, Dr Steve Bird, Professor Geoffrey Holmes, Associate Professor Rainer Kunnemeyer, Dr John Ryks, Dr Michael Cree and Associate Professor Eibe Frank. The total funding for these subcontracts is at least $4.3 million.