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Auckland's Research Excellence Recognised

The University of Auckland today welcomed its involvement in four of the five research groups awarded funding as Centres of Research Excellence.

The University of Auckland is host to three of the centres: The Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery, the New Zealand Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, and Nga Pae o te Maramatanga (Horizons of Insight) The National Institute of Research Excellence for Maori Development and Advancement. The University is also a partner in the Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and Evolution, hosted by Massey University.

Vice-Chancellor, Dr John Hood, said that the infusion of funding into such key areas of research was a welcome boost for the University's researchers and was a tribute to the fine work being undertaken by academics throughout the institution.

"These centres will further enhance Auckland's position as a leading, internationally recognised research led university. They have been won under intense competition and carry a great deal of prestige, both in New Zealand and overseas.

"Each of the groups awarded funding are building knowledge in areas critical to New Zealand's future.

"The Molecular Biodiscovery group applies new technologies to exploit genomic data to develop new medicines for infectious diseases, diabetes and cancer.

"Nga Pae o te Maramatanga will focus on developing new initiatives for Maori in the critical areas of education, health and science. The group assembles for the first time a critical mass of excellent Maori researchers from across disciplines and institutions to build on Maori strengths and to produce innovations that will advance Maori development and advancement.

"The Mathematics group will build up New Zealand's strength in a core discipline that is a fundamental building block of our ability as a country to engage at the forefront of a wide range of research areas from bioinformatics to risk assessment."

Dr Hood said that an important feature of the CoRE process had been the collaboration across institutions. "Researchers at the University routinely collaborate with their peers around New Zealand, and indeed around the world. These centres will continue that tradition.

He also noted that many of the University's unsuccessful proposals were also excellent. "The CoRE application process resulted in many more excellent proposals than could be funded. This itself is testimony to the high quality of university research in New Zealand, scarce though our research funds are. The impossible dilemma facing the selection committee was to ensure that the funded Centres receive adequate support, in the full realisation that this inevitably leaves some truly excellent proposals behind."


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