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$5.6 Million Invested in New Research Chairs

Monday 27 February 2006

$5.6 Million Invested in New Research Chairs, Fellowship
Otago’s Leading Thinkers Advancement Campaign Builds Momentum

In a major announcement today, the University of Otago released details of two foundation professorships and a new fellowship. The three projects are all additions to the University’s Leading Thinkers Initiative and have been made possible by gifts to the University totalling $2.81 million.

The two new professorships are the New Zealand Institute for Cancer Research Trust Chair in Cancer Pathology and the Chair in Viral Pathogenesis. The fellowship is the Gama Research Fellowship in Bipolar Disorder.

The Leading Thinkers Initiative was launched to build on the University’s current research strengths and ‘human capital’, said University Vice-Chancellor Professor David Skegg. “Universities need physical capital - we couldn’t function without buildings or computers - but in the end it is people who can make a university great. Leading Thinker projects all support people who are distinguished researchers in their fields,” said Professor Skegg.

Leading Thinker projects attract matching dollar for dollar funding from the Government through a Partnerships for Excellence agreement, meaning that the total sum announced today effectively exceeds $5.6 million. The money will be invested through the University of Otago Foundation Trust, with the income being used to support the new research positions.

“These gifts bring substantial and long-term benefits to the University and we are most grateful to our donor partners for their support and the confidence they have shown in us,” said Professor Skegg.

These new projects bring to 12 the total number established to date by the Leading Thinkers Initiative, with total funds now reaching $20 million. This was almost half way to the $50 million projected total and several more projects are currently in the pipeline, said Director of Development Dr Clive Matthewson.

“In fact, another new professorship is signed up and will be announced shortly. We’re building momentum. This is great news for the University and for the South Island, but also for people everywhere in New Zealand because the research pursued by these new professors is aimed at contributing to their health,” Dr Matthewson said.


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