Professor Craig Cary working in Antarctica.

The Marsden Fund has contributed nearly $4 million to seven University of Waikato projects.

The grants support New Zealand’s best investigator-initiated research in the areas of science, engineering, maths, social sciences and the humanities. The Waikato projects range from reinvigorating traditional Māori navigation, to examining life beneath the surface of the Antarctic.

University of Waikato Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Professor Bruce Clarkson says the success over such a range of subjects reflects the hard work, dedication and vision of the researchers. “This research will make a significant contribution to understanding Māori and Pacific society and culture, and the Antarctic and New Zealand environment.”

There are two types of grants: Fast-Start grants worth $300,000 over three years for early career researchers and Standard grantsworth up to $960,000 over three years.  Grants pay for salaries, students and postdoctoral positions, and consumables.

Standard grants:

Professor Craig Cary: In extremis – revealing novel metabolic pathways that support microbial populations in the deep subsurface biosphere of Mt Erebus, Antarctica. $935,000.

Dr Waikaremoana Waitoki: The embrace of our ancestors: reimagining and recontextualising mātauranga Māori in psychology. $859,000.

Associate Professor Alan Hogg: When and why did all the pā arrive? A multidisciplinary investigation into the spatial-temporal role of pā in the development of Māori culture. $827,000.

Fast-Start grants ($300,000):

Dr Jackie Tuaupiki: Te Kāpaukura a Kupe: The Ocean in the Sky - Māori Navigation Knowledge. Dr Tuaupiki’s research will help a new generation of Māori voyagers reconnect with their tupuna and with Polynesian navigators across the Pacific.

Dr Fraser Macdonald: Melanesia Burning: The Explosion of Pentecostalism in the Western Pacific.  The globalisation of Pentecostal Christianity in the 20th century was a development of enormous historical and religious significance. This project aims to unfold the untold story of the explosion of Pentecostalism in Melanesia in the 1970s.

Dr Adele Williamson: DNA repair systems of the Antarctic microbial metagenome. Dr Williamson will be coming from Norway to the University of Waikato to work on the project next year. She will study how microbes survive under the hostile conditions of Antarctica’s Dry Valleys.

Dr Andrew Barnes: Illuminating the dark side of restoration: Soil food web reassembly in regenerating forests. This research will provide a long-needed integration of food web theory into ecological restoration, increasing our ability to predict restoration outcomes for the biodiversity, functioning and stability of ecosystems.

Other University of Waikato staff have received additional funding in relation to projects with other institutions, the University also congratulates them on their success.

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