University of Waikato celebrates 13 Marsden Fund winners

10 November 2020

Photo credit: Royal Society Te Apārangi

University of Waikato researchers will lead 13 new programmes supported by the Marsden Fund covering topics from the whole disciplinary spectrum.

Over the next three years, their research will help us better understand the natural world (including impacts of climate change and pollution), human health and psychology, and history.

The Marsden Fund supports researchers to work on their best and boldest ideas, to transform understanding, reveal the foundations of knowledge and to create significant impact for New Zealand and the world.

The news comes during Waikato's most successful year ever gaining research investment, including four new research programmes totalling almost $40 million funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Professor Bryony James, says the results are a fantastic accolade for these Waikato researchers who are pushing forward fundamental understanding.

“Coupled with our recent successes in the Endeavour Fund, and other funds operated by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, our staff are being supported to advance knowledge across all frontiers, from blue-skies enquiry to the highly applied.

“We are very proud, here at Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato, of how our research and our researchers are going to change the world.”

University of Waikato Marsden Fund 2020 winners (principal investigators) and their project titles are as follows. Details of all award winners and project abstracts can be found here.

Standard grants

  • Professor Margaret Barbour, School of Science, Global productivity over the Holocene: Leaf hydraulic design to constrain the Dole effect
  • Associate Professor Christopher Lusk, Environmental Research Institute, Mycorrhizas, alternative stable states, and landscape partitioning in south-temperate forests
  • Dr Julia Mullarney, School of Science, Bridging the laboratory-field divide to accurately predict the evolution of coastlines
  • Professor Vincent Reid, School of Psychology, The development of the human visual system in utero: an experimental and computational modelling approach
  • Dr Maebh Long, School of Arts, Modern Immunity: Modernism, Threat and Immune Poetics

Fast-Start grants

  • Dr Aleea Devitt, School of Psychology, Thinking backwards and forwards: Characteristics and consequences of age-related memory decline
  • Dr Joanna Hicks, Te Huataki Waiora School of Health, What is the alternative? Sulphur acquisition in the human pathogen Neisseria gonorrhoeae
  • Dr Kate Stevens, School of Social Sciences, Urban island: Histories of dispossession and belonging in Suva
  • Dr Megan Grainger, School of Science, Metal incorporation into honeybee brains and cells: at what cost to the hive?
  • Dr Nālani Wilson-Hokowhitu, Te Pua Wānanga ki te Ao Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies, Retracing the Storylines of Pacific Women Voyagers and Navigators
  • Dr Shari Gallop, School of Science, Exploring the utility of stable state theory in real-world environmental problems
  • Dr Tanya O'Neill, School of Science, Global environmental monitors: do penguins concentrate and record diffuse contaminants from global-scale anthropogenic events in pristine Antarctic environments?
  • Dr Terry Isson, School of Science, Exploring the limits of climate regulation: Could a decline in marine biological silica uptake exacerbate global climate change?

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