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Victoria University wins $6m research grants

Victoria University’s research-rich environment just got richer with nearly $6 million in grants announced by the Foundation for Research Science and Technology.

“We’re absolutely delighted that the early investment Victoria University has made through its internal research funds enabled our excellent researchers to compete successfully for this central funding,” said Professor Peter Englert, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Victoria University of Wellington. “We have fostered a strong research-culture at Victoria University which enables us to demonstrate excellence in both fundamental and applied research.”

Three of the four projects funded contribute to advancing fundamental scientific knowledge. One project, worth $1.355 million over five years, is very “down to Earth”. Associate Professor Tim Stern’s research covers the structure, deformation and mechanical properties of the crust and upper mantle in New Zealand.

“Research like this is significant because it provides the building blocks for other areas of earth science research including seismic hazard, volcanology and exploration for resources,” says Professor Englert. The project has been supported since 1993 and runs in collaboration with one at the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences.

“A particular focus of the programme in the next five years is measuring the crustal thickness, electrical conductivity and seismic wave speeds in the areas of volcanism and geothermal fields within the North Island. In the South Island the researchers will focus on fault structures, how they penetrate into the crust and mantle, and the role that fluids and fluid pressure in the earth play in fault movements and earthquakes.”

The Antarctic Climate project, led by Professor Peter Barrett of the Antarctic Research Centre, has been awarded $280,000 per year for five years.

The Microtubule Stabilising Research, worth $2.2 million over four years, is led by Dr Peter Northcote of the School of Chemical & Physical Sciences and Dr John Miller of the School of Biological Sciences.

Another exciting project worth almost $1 million over three years is focused on tourism research and has been co-ordinated by Dr Paul Froggatt of Victoria Link Limited.

Issued by the Public Affairs Unit of Victoria University of Wellington. For further information please contact Jude Urlich, Public Affairs, Victoria University, 04 463 5539.

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