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Pilot project for Māori and Science announced

Pilot project for Māori and Science announced
The desire to promote Māori engagement in the country’s science industry has led to a new pilot summer internship programme, a collaborative venture between the University of Otago, Industrial Research Ltd and the Federation of Māori Authorities.
Starting this month (November), three Otago undergraduate and postgraduate Māori students - with interests in Māori development, neuroscience, chemistry, statistics, environmental science and psychology - will spend ten weeks hosted in Wellington by IRL.
“The students are very excited to take up this unique opportunity to explore the world of Maori business and to apply the knowledge they have gained at university,” says the University’s Associate Dean Māori Dr Stephen Scott.
The pilot programme is designed to explore how science expertise can support Māori businesses and also how internships can lead to more Māori scientists. At the end of their ten-week internship, the three interns will report on the effectiveness of the programme.
The initiative will be announced at the Federation of Maori Authorities’ 25th Annual Conference in Taupo on Saturday.
University of Otago Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) Professor Richard Blaikie says the pilot internship underscores the strong relationship Otago has with leading business, Iwi and research organisations.
“This pilot marks the start of a strong collaboration between our three organisations. It is particularly pleasing that this programme fits well into the University’s commitment to Maori student and society development as outlined in our Maori Strategic Framework, as well as our commitment to serving the needs of New Zealand business enterprises” he says.
IRL has worked with Māori staff at Otago to develop the pilot programme which includes visiting Māori businesses around the country. As hosts of the interns,
IRL will support the students while they are in Wellington. The University of Otago will provide travel assistance as well as academic and pastoral oversight through the Division of Science (with Dr Stephen Scott) and  the School of Business (Kaiārahi Commerce Corey Bragg).
The focus of the programme is to expose Māori students to the science innovation system from a kaupapa Māori perspective, and  to transfer knowledge, skills and capabilities from the Universities and CRIs more directly to businesses through the student interns.
“We want to introduce students to both the supply side of the system (CRIs and the science policy framework) as well as the demand side (Maori businesses),” says the General Manager of Industry Engagement at IRL Gavin Mitchell.


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