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Waikato University researchers win six Marsden Fund grants

Thursday October 25, 2012

Waikato University researchers win six Marsden Fund grants

An examination of what triggers toxin production in blue-green algae, the role of the hormone oxytocin in sharing food with others, and an analysis of whakatauki (proverbs) and conservation of biodiversity in Aotearoa are among six research projects led by University of Waikato researchers to receive support from the Marsden Fund, New Zealand's funding for ideas-driven research.

The Marsden Fund has announced it will distribute $54.6 million to fund 86 new research projects nationwide, each for a three-year period. More than a third of the proposals funded are Marsden Fast-Starts, which are designed to help outstanding young researchers establish themselves within New Zealand.

"Marsden Fund grants are highly competitive, less than 10% of all applications are successful, so I’m delighted with our success," said Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford. "These Waikato projects reflect the breadth of exciting research being conducted by our researchers that has clear relevance to New Zealand’s social, cultural and environmental well-being.”

The Marsden Fund-supported projects at Waikato University are:
• “A new solution to a perennial problem: Resolving a paradox in pursuit of ecology’s Holy Grail”, Dr Daniel Laughlin, Department of Biological Sciences, total funding: $345,000, Fast-Start Grant.
• “Toxic in crowds: the triggers of toxin production in planktonic cyanobacteria”, Professor David Hamilton, Department of Biological Sciences, total funding: $920,000.
• “What makes us share food with others? The role of neurohormone oxytocin in social aspects of eating behaviour”, Dr Pawel Olszewski, Department of Biological Sciences, total funding: $760,000.
• “Photodissociation of nitrous oxide in the atmosphere”, Dr Joseph Lane, Department of Chemistry, total funding: $345,000, Fast-Start grant.
• “Activism, technology and organising: Transformations in collective action in Aotearoa New Zealand”, Associate Professor Shiv Ganesh, Department of Management Communication, total funding: $890,000.
• “He rongo i te reo rauriki, i te reo reiuru: Whakatauki and conservation of biodiversity in Aotearoa”, Dr Hemi Whaanga, School of Māori and Pacific Development, total funding: $345,000, Fast-Start Grant.

The Marsden Fund is administered by the Royal Society of New Zealand on behalf of the Marsden Fund Council, and funded by the New Zealand Government. It supports projects in the sciences, technology, engineering and maths, social sciences and the humanities.

For full details of the 2012 awards, visit


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