Media Advisory June 15

University Fieldays stand wins best in show

The University of Waikato's Fieldays stand has won the Best Premier Feature Theme Stand at the agricultural showcase. The stand, which proved increasingly popular over the four-day Mystery Creek event, featured innovative engineering designs that will provide genuine savings for agribusiness organisations. Working models of carbon monitoring equipment, a seeding machine and a pine seedling lifter-grader attracted plenty of attention, with senior politicians enthusing about the research being undertaken at Waikato. The stand was judged best at highlighting the theme of Fieldays this year, Growing our Capability in Agribusiness.

Science and Engineering post-graduate scholarships launched

The University of Waikato's Faculty of Science and Engineering is offering 50 post-graduate scholarships for B Semester 2015 that provide the opportunity to work on specific projects with world-leading experts. The scholarships - valued at more than $250,000 - are for two or three years and include research support. They are available in a wide range of subjects and are open to all New Zealand students studying at masters or PhD level in the science or engineering fields. Successful recipients could be modelling nutrient and sediment inputs in Lake Waikare, researching the microbial diversity of geothermal mud pools, measuring the electrical conductivity of brain tissue or exploring the feasibility for automatic barnacle removal from greenshell mussels. The scholarships have been designed by the university's top science and engineering academics to focus on specific projects. A list of research topics, supervisors and a comprehensive description of each project is available at for science and for engineering.

Social history of medicine under the microscope

Do you trust your doctor? Is depression the pandemic of the 21st century? These are some of the questions raised by the social history of medicine, the topic of a free public lecture at the University of Waikato tomorrow, June 16 at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts. History Professor Cathy Coleborne will talk about how past generations of people understood illness in their own historical context; what language they gave to their symptoms, and how it was understood by doctors. She'll also explore the idea that a disease or illness is often bound by its time and place in history. Inaugural Professorial Lectures are free and open to the public and are the University of Waikato's way of introducing new professors and their research to the wider community. The lecture is at 6pm, with the bar open from 5pm. Parking is at Gate 2B.

Management school hosts student research conference

The University of Waikato Management School held its 18th annual Student Research Conference on June 12, giving postgraduate business students an opportunity to share their research in a friendly, supportive environment. The award for best paper went to Waikato PhD student Fangxuan Li, who is studying the reasons why about 80,000 Chinese tourists visit North Korea every year. North Korea is actively trying to promote its highly controlled tourism industry to wealthy foreigners. Fangxuan found that many Chinese tourists want to satisfy their curiosity about this mysterious country and see the reality of people's lives under dictator Kim Jong-un for themselves. Waikato PhD student Heidi Lu was awarded the prize for best abstract. She plans to study whether cloud-based digital technologies could play a greater role in helping authorities to prepare for and respond to natural disaster events such as earthquakes. 

A foot in the IOC door

The International Olympic Committee is keen to know how young people view the Olympic Games, and two University of Waikato sport and leisure academics are about to find out. Dr Holly Thorpe and Associate Professor Belinda Wheaton have won an Advanced Olympic Research Grant Programme 2015/2016 Award for a project titled Youth perceptions of the Olympic Games: Attitudes towards action sports at the Youth Olympic Games and Olympic Games. The pair research action sports, such as skateboarding, surfing, parkour and kite-surfing, and have written widely about attitudes, the culture and the politics of different sports, but this the first in-depth sociological investigation of how youth perceive the Olympics. The researchers have a year to complete online surveys in six languages across five continents, do media analysis and interviews before presenting their findings to the IOC in Lausanne this time next year.

Opportunity for children's literature lovers to upskill

For teachers, librarians and lovers of children's literature, the University of Waikato is offering a new masters level paper Children's Literature and Educational Contexts. The paper starts next month and will be a mix of in-class and online teaching. Co-convenor for the paper Dr Nicola Daly from the Faculty of Education says the university has offered undergraduate papers in children's literature for many years but she and fellow convenor Marilyn Blakeney-Williams saw a need for a follow-through paper at postgraduate level. The paper will refer to New Zealand and international children's books, picture books and novels, and cover a range of genres, including realistic and fantasy, historical fiction, and non-fiction. For more information go to: Dr Daly is a host of online collections and resources the New Zealand PictureBook Collection - and NZ Pacific PictureBook Collection -

Schools' Analytical Chemistry Competition 

About 100 Year 13 secondary school students from the greater Waikato will put their laboratory skills to the test this week in the annual Analytical Chemistry Competition at the University of Waikato. The event involves teams of four students carrying out a chemical analysis, with the aim to achieve the most accurate result. They compete for a trophy and cash prizes donated by Hill Laboratories. The day involves many chemistry staff from the School of Science in setting up the competition and supervising the labs. The competition allows enthusiastic Year 13 chemists to spend a day in the university laboratories working on an experiment that is beyond the resources of many of their schools. The competition is on Wednesday, June 17.

Tauranga Café Scientifique: nuclear energy for future energy requirements

Nuclear engineer Dr Hanno van der Merwe will lead a discussion about New Zealand's nuclear energy needs for future energy requirements at the next Café Scientifique in Tauranga. The presentation discusses the basic principles behind nuclear power generation, its operational and safety issues and what options exist today. Dr Van de Merwe will also talk about how employing nuclear energy requires a huge commitment by the public and their government to all aspects of the nuclear energy cycle. Dr Van der Merwe works for Ballance Agri-Nutrients in Mount Maunganui and is responsible for developing new industrial and agricultural chemical products. He is a former nuclear scientist and holds a PhD in physics and degrees in chemistry and engineering. Café Scientifique is on Monday, June 22, 6.30pm for 7pm start at the Tauranga Yacht and Power Boat Club, 90 Keith Allen Drive, Sulphur Point, Tauranga. For more information, visit:

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