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Marsden Fund backs Victoria researchers

MEDIA RELEASE 11 September 2003

Marsden Fund backs Victoria researchers

Victoria University researchers have been given a big boost from the Marsden Fund, with ten proposals receiving financial backing of more than $3 million this year, an increase of more than $1 million on last year.

Four research proposals from the School of Biological Sciences, two from the School of Mathematical and Computing Sciences and one each from the School of Earth Sciences, School of Asian and European Languages and Cultures, School of Music and School of Chemical and Physical Sciences were successful.

Researchers will be investigating topics that include: the unique reproductive systems of moss; the Taupo volcanic zone; 1920’s women writers in Spain; invasion theories of yellow crazy ants; the songs of Johannes Brahms; a selection of computer science and mathematical projects and the distribution of herbivores and their predators.

As well, staff in the University’s Treaty of Waitangi Research Unit are associate investigators with Northland iwi, Ngati Hine, the first tribal grouping to win a Marsden Fund award, to investigate the transformation of the landscape and human interaction in the pre-1840 Bay of Islands. Ngati Hine is the kaitiaki tribe of Waitangi. This is the second successful Marsden funding bid by the research unit in two years.

Other researchers at Victoria are also involved in associate roles in a number of projects that received funding including investigations into superconductors, linguistic theory and the languages of Malakula and glaciations in New Zealand.

Victoria University Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart McCutcheon praised the University's researchers for their success.

"The calibre of applications to the Marsden Fund means it is extremely competitive, with less than 15 percent of those applying getting a grant. For Victoria's academics to be primary investigators in 10 applications and associate investigators in several other projects sponsored by other institutions is an outstanding success. The projects cover the gamut of the University's work from biological and computing sciences to music and languages and show the commitment of our staff to world-class research."

This is the ninth application round for the Marsden Fund, a government research fund established in 1994 to support excellence in research administered by the Royal Society of New Zealand. Of the 741 preliminary proposals, only 134 were asked to submit a full proposal. Overall 14.2% of the total number of applications were successful.

In this round, 105 new research projects will receive $43.8 million support over the next three years from the Fund. In their first year, the projects will receive $15.2 million of which $1.4 million has been allocated to 28 "Fast Start" researchers who are in the early stages of their research careers.


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