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Increased number of projects funded in 2016

Thursday 3 November, 2016

Increased number of projects funded and strong support for early career researchers in 2016 Marsden funding round

A total of 117 research projects have been allocated $65.2 million (excl. GST) of funding in this year’s Marsden Fund grants, which support New Zealand’s best investigator-initiated research in the areas of science, engineering, maths, social sciences and the humanities.

This is an increase on the $54 million (excl. GST) awarded to 92 projects last year, due to the unprecedented increase of $66 million (excl. GST) over four years announced by the Government in Budget 2016.

The grants are distributed over three years, paying for salaries, students and postdoctoral positions, institutional overheads and research consumables.

There is strong support for early career researchers this year, with 49 Fast-Start grants awarded, compared with 29 last year, says Marsden Fund Council Chair, Professor Juliet Gerrard FRSNZ.

“The Fast-Start grants are designed to allow early career researchers to establish their independent research areas and create research momentum for these individuals.

“The assessment panels were really impressed with the quality of the Fast-Start proposals this year and so we are pleased to be able to use some of the extra funding to support more of them.”

Many of the Fast-Start researchers are looking at issues very much at the forefront of public interest today such as climate change, nitrogen run off, immigration and understanding New Zealand’s native plants and animals.

The number of grants awarded to established researchers is also up from 63 last year to 68 in 2016, thanks to the increase in funding. Topics under investigation by those receiving a Standard grant also cover a range of topics of great interest to New Zealand, including slow moving landslides, ancient Māori social networks, and how melanin acts as a sunscreen.

Overall the Marsden Fund is a long term investment in New Zealand, says Professor Gerrard. “By supporting our smartest New Zealand researchers to work on their best ideas, including an understanding of how things work at a fundamental level, the Marsden Fund helps to build a strong research base for New Zealand, which will benefit us all in the future. The increased success of our emerging researchers this year gives us confidence that our long term future is in great shape.”

The Marsden Fund is managed by the Royal Society of New Zealand on behalf of the government.

ENDS

Background information

About the Marsden Fund

The Marsden Fund supports excellence in leading-edge research in New Zealand. Projects are selected annually in a rigorous process by ten panels who are guided by the opinions of world-leading, international researchers. Funding is usually spread over three years for each grant.

There are two types of grants: Fast-Start grants worth $300K (excl. GST) over three years for early career researchers and Standard grants that can be worth up to $870K (excl. GST) for three years. Grants pay for salaries, students and postdoctoral positions, and consumables.

The Marsden Fund is contestable, is for investigator-driven research projects, and is not subject to government priorities. It is administered by the Royal Society of New Zealand and funded by the New Zealand Government.

The Fund is named after physicist Sir Ernest Marsden. It was established by the government in 1994.

The Marsden Fund is regarded as a hallmark of excellence, allowing New Zealand’s best researchers to explore their ideas.

About the Royal Society of New Zealand

The Royal Society of New Zealand promotes science, technology and humanities in schools, in industry and in society. It administers funds for research, publishes peer-reviewed journals, offers advice to government, and fosters international scientific contact and co-operation. www.royalsociety.org.nz


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