Waikato wins bid for Antarctic endowment fund

22 June 2010

Craig Cary

Snow enthused: ICTAR Director Professor Craig Cary.

Antarctic research at the University of Waikato has received a major financial boost with the establishment of an endowment fund.

Antarctica New Zealand has provided $50,000 in seed funding to the University’s International Centre for Terrestrial Antarctic Research (ICTAR), to establish the Antarctic Research Endowment Fund.

ICTAR is a new centre at Waikato partnering with Gateway Antarctica at the University of Canterbury, which was the recipient of last year’s Antarctic Endowment Fund award. An additional $50,000 in matched funding will come from the University of Waikato.

The endowment will actively support the continued growth and development of research expertise in Antarctica to meet New Zealand interests in the Ross Dependency and obligations to the Antarctic Treaty.

The fund will help support final-year undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate students, and will also be used for exploratory projects, costs associated with travel to Antarctica, visits to obtain skills from overseas collaborators, and attendance at national and international meetings.

ICTAR Director Professor Craig Cary said the establishment of the Antarctic Research Endowment Fund represented a major opportunity for Waikato.

“The Fund will not only support scholarships for Antarctic Research, it will help us encourage and develop the next generation of well-qualified and enthusiastic Antarctic researchers,” he said. “This investment confirms the strong ties we have with Antarctica New Zealand and the support they give to our programme.”

Erebus camp

Base camp: Researchers set up camp on Mt Erebus.

Antarctica New Zealand Chief Executive Lou Sanson said the University of Waikato’s application had seen solid competition from other universities.

“ICTAR has a strong position in terrestrial Antarctic research and is a great legacy of the international Polar Year,” he said. “The Waikato proposal was well aligned with the draft Antarctic Science Strategy document and will utilise proven existing mechanisms to invest the funds.”

Applications for student support grants derived from the endowment fund will be accepted from August.

The funding will be officially presented to the University of Waikato at the annual Antarctica New Zealand science conference in July.