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UC academics awarded $10.7m for new research endeavours

UC academics awarded $10.7m for new research endeavours

University of Canterbury (UC) Science and Engineering researchers have gained $10.7 million in funding for five Smart Ideas proposals and two Research Programmes in the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s 2017 Endeavour Round.

The seven new UC research projects will be funded for the next three to five years under MBIE’s Endeavour Fund, which invests in excellent science that has the potential to positively impact New Zealand economically, environmentally and socially.

University of Canterbury Deputy Vice-Chancellor Te Tumu Tuarua Professor Ian Wright is thrilled with the success of the UC researchers’ proposals.

“This success highlights the ability of UC’s researchers to generate fundable ideas that are relevant, are excellent research, and could make a significant difference for New Zealand,” Professor Wright says.

“The breadth of the projects – extending from geospatial tools for community and rūnanga town planning, to a new biomarker assay platform for disease detection, to tuning protein expression for primary sector applications, to understanding the possible recovery trajectories for Kaikōura marine ecosystems – demonstrates the wide-ranging capacity of UC’s original, significant research.

“It is also pleasing to see the quantum of funding secured, some $10.7 million, which shows that UC is continuing to be successful in a highly competitive process.”

Smart Ideas are defined as innovative research projects that have a high potential to benefit New Zealand, while Research Programmes support ambitious, well-defined research ideas, which have high potential to positively transform areas of future value, growth or critical need to New Zealand.

UC Research Programmes:

• Community concerns, key species and wahi taonga – recovery trajectories of the marine ecosystem from the Kaikōura earthquakes ($3,184,344 funded over 4 years) Science Leader: Distinguished Professor David Schiel

• Map-based tools for community and rūnanga-led sustainable town planning in small and medium settlements in New Zealand ($2,570,250 funded over 5 years) Science Leader: Dr Rita Dionisio

UC Smart Ideas (funded over three years):

• Discovering petroleum associated with buried volcanoes ($999,999) Science Leader: Professor Andy Nicol

• Low carbon magnesium oxide cement and hydrogen manufactured from olivine basalt ($999,999) Science Leader: Dr Allan Scott

• Development of a simple, general and novel assay platform for detecting and quantifying analytes in non-laboratory settings ($1,000,000) Science Leader: Associate Professor Renwick Dobson

• Manufacture of structure-optimised homogenous glycoprotein therapeutics ($1,000,000) Science Leader: Professor Antony Fairbanks

• Building bioinformatic software for controlling protein expression ($939,999) Science Leader: Dr Paul Gardner

Caption info: UC researcher Dr Rita Dionisio visits greyfields space with redevelopment potential in Ōtautahi Christchurch. She is leading a new Research Programme creating map-based tools for community and rūnanga-led, sustainable town planning in small and medium settlements, which has been funded $2,570,250 over the next five years


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