Media Advisory November 30

University key partner in elite cycling event

The University of Waikato is the official tertiary education partner of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup being held this weekend at the Avantidrome, Cambridge. The event will see the world’s best track cyclists competing for the points that will determine their international ranking, and ultimately their qualifications for the World Championships and Olympic Games. As a key partner, the University will be hosting a site outside the venue during the event. The site will see University sport scientists Dr Matt Driller and Joe McQuillan, who is also the Sport Science Lab Manager at the Avantidrome, running assessments using stationary bikes, a jumping platform to test an individual’s power, and recovery boots. The UCI Track Cycling World Cup runs from Friday December 4 until Sunday December 6.

Privacy Commissioner announces research grants

The University of Waikato is one of four successful applicants in the inaugural funding round for the Privacy Good Research Fund. The Fund was launched in June 2015, with $75,000 made available to support private research. The University of Waikato has been awarded $18,996 for its project “Parent-centric Privacy Framework for a Safe Cyber Environment for Children”.

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Sustainability – the total package

Professor Priya Kurian says sustainability is too important an issue to dismiss or ignore. The political scientist will deliver her inaugural professorial lecture at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts on Tuesday December 8. Professor Kurian began her career as a journalist for the Times of India in Mumbai, before heading to the US to complete her Masters and PhD at Purdue University in Indiana. She joined the University of Waikato in 1996 where she focuses her research on sustainability in its entirety – taking into account social justice, cultural diversity, economic viability and democratic governance. The inaugural professorial lectures introduce the university’s newest professors to the community and showcases how its research has a real impact on the world around us. Lectures are free and open to the public. Professor Kurian’s lecture is at 6pm at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts. The Opus Bar will be open from 5pm.

Claude McCarthy Fellowships for four university students

Four University of Waikato doctoral candidates have been granted Claude McCarthy Fellowships for travel in 2016. The students are Dorothy Brown, Helen Clark, Chanelle Gavin and Anuradha Walallavita. The Claude McCarthy Fellowship is administered through Universities New Zealand - Te Pōkai Tara. The scholarships will enable them to travel overseas for a short period to present research work at conferences and/or conduct research leading towards the New Zealand doctoral degree for which they are enrolled.

Hydrological Society conference to highlight water issues

The University of Waikato will host the 2015 NZ Hydrological Society Annual Conference from tomorrow, Tuesday December 1 until Friday December 4. This year’s theme is “From Data To Knowledge". Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Professor Bruce Clarkson is the keynote speaker on Thursday December 3 and university PhD students, including Mahuru Robb and Jack Pronger, are also speaking at the conference. Topics include flood management, floor forecasting and the experiences of Māori who have negotiated water allocations. For more information visit

Harvard professor to talk science, society, culture and policy

The University of Waikato’s Distinguished Visiting Professor for 2015 is Professor Sheila Jasanoff from Harvard University where she holds the Pforzheimer Chair in Science and Technology Studies at John F Kennedy School of Government, and also works in Harvard’s School of Public Health.  She’s known as a pioneer of global science and technology studies. The professor will participate in a symposium Waikato is hosting next week for scholars, called Science, Society, Culture and Policy which will look at how society might navigate the relationship between science and technology on the one hand, and policy-making and governance on the other. The symposium will feature the work of 10 scholars working at the intersections of science, society, culture, and policy.

Vending machines for all

A Waikato University law student is working on a summer start-up project to make vending machines more accessible to people living with disabilities or impairments. Jayne Kaye Sankey-O’Dwyer went blind when she was 25 and had to make big changes in her life. She says while there’s been big improvements in services for people with disabilities, accessibility to common services is still a big issue. Jayne plans to develop similar audio technology that is used in ATMs to vending machines so they can ‘talk’ to customers who can’t read the screens. Jayne is one of 24 Waikato students who won a $5000 scholarship to do a 10-week Summer Start-Up Programme, a new initiative developed by the University and Waikato Students’ Union (WSU). The programme started on November 16 and will run in Hamilton and Tauranga until February 12 - with a three-week break over Christmas. This gives students 10 weeks to develop their own project or idea with the help of an expert start-up coach, workshops and full-access to a shared working space.

Passionate stories of the Great Barrier Reef

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef in the world but it’s the passionate and varied human responses to this extraordinary living structure that are of most interest to historian and social scientist Professor Iain McCalman. Professor McCalman is visiting New Zealand this week to give the 2015 New Zealand Aronui Lecture for the Royal Society of New Zealand. In his lecture, ‘Great Barrier Reef Passions: Why history stories matter’, he will share historical tales from the Great Barrier Reef. These stories include an account of when Captain Cook first sailed   the Endeavour through the Great Barrier Reef calling it an ‘insane labyrinth’. Professor McCalman is Co-Director of the Sydney Environment Institute at the University of Sydney. He wrote the award-winning book, Darwin’s Armada, which became an international TV series, museum exhibition and educational website. Professor McCalman’s free lecture is on December 2 at 7pm in the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts. This event is sponsored by the University of Waikato’s Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences.

Author to give public lecture on wealth

The University of Waikato is the venue for a public lecture by Max Rashbrooke next week. Mr Rashbrooke is the editor of Inequality: A New Zealand Crisis, ‘The Inequality Debate: An Introduction’, and most recently ‘Wealth and New Zealand’. His latest book contains new data on wealth inequality in New Zealand, and wraps that into a larger story about why wealth matters and why we need to think about how it is distributed, alongside our traditional concerns about income inequality. Mr Rashbrooke is also a research associate of the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies at Victoria University of Wellington. As a journalist, he has written stories for national newspapers and magazines in Britain and New Zealand, including the Guardian, the National Business Review and Metro. He has twice been the recipient of the Bruce Jesson Senior Journalism Award and is a 2015 Winston Churchill Fellow. The lecture is on December 9 from 5.15pm-6.30pm in S.G.01.

Summer School to encourage Māori students into science

The University of Waikato is playing host to an event aimed at encouraging Waikato and Bay of Plenty Māori students to study science at a tertiary level. The Te Huakirangi Māori Science Summer School is a week-long science experience held on campus at Waikato University from November 28 to December 4. Year 11 and 12 students from Hamilton and Tokoroa are lined up to attend the Summer School. During the event, students will look at astronomy and extract DNA in the Faculty of Science & Engineering laboratories and visit Sulphur Point research station in Tauranga.

Open letter to COP21

Two University of Waikato professors are behind an open letter directed at delegates attending this week’s Climate Change Summit in Paris that urges them to consider the poor and vulnerable before making any binding decisions. Professors Debashish Munshi and Priya Kurian led an international symposium on climate justice in Italy earlier this year and the delegates from that have collectively sent the COP21 letter emphasising the need to focus on justice. Professor Kurian says at a minimum, all countries must commit to reduced greenhouse gas emissions so that global temperatures rise no more than 1.5˚C. The pair also advocate spending substantial public funds annually in new money for a Green Climate Fund, and for free technology transfer that can help poor countries make the transition to a low carbon economy. They also want global emissions trading abolished and replaced with an equitable and legally-binding formula of resource use and resource distribution where wealthy nations commit to massive reductions in emissions and developing nations get access to public funds directly from the governments that can afford it.

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