Auckland Research Community Receives Massive Boost
17 September 2001
Twenty-nine research projects in twenty-nine different fields at The University of Auckland have successfully attracted nearly $10 million over the next three years from the Marsden Fund's 2001 allocation round.
Professor Tom Barnes, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) of The University of Auckland, said that the infusion of funding into such a broad range of University departments was a welcome boost for The University's researchers and underlined again The University of Auckland's position as New Zealand's premier research led university.
"Blue skies research such as that funded by the Marsden Fund is the basic building block of knowledge in a particular discipline. The wide array of disciplines funded in this year's round, from Molecular Medicine, to Anthropology, Statistics, Chemistry, Film, TV and Media Studies and Economics, demonstrates a breadth of knowledge creation in this institution that is unparalleled in New Zealand."
Researchers from The University of Auckland captured some 33% of the total amount of $29 million allocated over the next three years by the Marsden Fund. The University was successful in 29 applications from a total of 82 funded countrywide.
"This is a notable achievement which I believe reflects the excellence of the research community at The University of Auckland," Professor Barnes said.
"Grants from the Marsden fund are won under intense competition and carry a great deal of prestige, both in New Zealand and overseas. These awards provide The University of Auckland with the opportunity to contribute further to the excellent reputation of New Zealand research overseas, while demonstrating the importance of curiosity driven research for the country.
Of the major recipients of the Marsden funding, The University of Auckland received 33%, The University of Otago, 16%, Canterbury University, 8%, Waikato University, 5% and Victoria University, 5%. Crown Research Institutes received most of the rest of the awards.
Aside from the four full proposals awarded to Massey University, which has a campus in Auckland, The University of Auckland was the only tertiary institution to receive funding in the Auckland area. Professor Barnes said that The University is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge within its disciplines, the expansion of cross-disciplinary knowledge, and the building of a rich and stimulating learning environment.
"The investment made in University researchers by the Marsden Fund is an important element of the University's overall research programme. Commercial research funding attracted to the University through UniServices, however, is rapidly overtaking government funding such as this. In 2001, roughly half of The University of Auckland's $80 million research budget will come from non-government sources.
"This ratio is unparalleled throughout the world, where governments are usually the primary funders of research."
Professor Barnes said that notwithstanding The University of Auckland's relative success, only 9.3% of preliminary proposals nationwide were successful at the final stage. "This result reflects the paucity of funding available rather than the quality of the applications, and is an issue that needs to be addressed quickly by the Government if New Zealand is be driven by research towards a knowledge society."