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Research Excellence Centres Shortlist Impressive

The eleven short-listed applicants for the government’s new $60m Centres of Research Excellence fund all have the potential to make a major contribution to New Zealand’s future economic and social development, says Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey.

Between three and six specialist centres of research excellence, which operate at the leading edge of their field within the international research community, will be established this year. Operating expenditure of $40.6 million over four years, and one-off capital funding of $20m for investment in strategic research assets this financial year is available for the initiative which is being independently managed by the Royal Society of New Zealand. The centres on the shortlist will be visited by the selection panel, with the successful applicants being chosen in March.

Steve Maharey said Centres of Research Excellence (CoRE) are a concrete example of the government’s active support for key drivers of economic and social transformation.

“Returning New Zealand to the top half of the OECD will require us to be innovative in everything we do to create higher value in our economy. The CoRE fund is designed to encourage greater concentration and networking of high quality specialised research resources in the tertiary sector, with a focus on producing leading-edge research and leading-edge researchers.

“The fund was recommended by the Tertiary Education Advisory Commission and is being independently managed by the Royal Society.

“To be successful, applicant centres must demonstrate that they will support research that is of excellent (world class) quality, focused on New Zealand’s future economic and social development and that will lead to the transfer of knowledge.

“The centres shortlisted ably demonstrate the considerable contribution the tertiary education sector will make to economic and social transformation.

“Growing a more innovative New Zealand requires exactly this kind of government-brokered partnership,” Steve Maharey said.


Tuesday, 19 February, 2002


The Royal Society of New Zealand has announced a shortlist of 11 proposals for Centres of Research Excellence. Forty-five proposals were received; 3-6 centres are likely to be finally selected by the Centres of Research Excellence (CoRE) Fund Committee chaired by Sir Paul Reeves.

Committee members will visit the shortlisted applicants over the next few days and will make their final selection at a meeting on the 4th March. The results will be announced by the Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary Education), Hon Steve Maharey, shortly after that date.

The shortlisted applicants:

Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and Evolution
Host Institution: Massey University, Director : Professors D Penny and M Hendy
Partners: University of Canterbury, University of Auckland, University of Otago, Victoria University of Wellington
Studies of New Zealand’s bio-diversity and its origins using molecular biology to gain insights into the nature of complex biological processes and fragile ecosystems.

Centre for Advanced Bio-protection Technologies
Host Institution: Lincoln University, Director: Professor. A Stewart
Partners: Crop & Food, AgResearch, HortResearch, Landcare, Wool Research Organisation of New Zealand
Research on new technologies for ecologically sustainable pest and disease management.

The Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery
Host Institution: University of Auckland, Director: Professor T Baker
Applications of new technology exploiting genomic data to develop new medicines for infectious diseases, diabetes and cancer.

Gateway Antarctica: Centre for Antarctic Studies and Research
Host Institution: University of Canterbury, Director: Professor B Storey
Partners: Antarctica New Zealand, University of Otago, University of Waikato, Victoria University of Wellington, NIWA
Research into the response of the Antarctic system to global change and natural and human impacts to enable development of sound protection and sustainability policies for the Antarctic environment.

The MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology
Host Institution: Victoria University of Wellington, Director: Professor P Callaghan
Partners: University of Canterbury, Industrial Research Limited, Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences
Research on new materials and technologies such as nano-engineering, opto-electronics, superconductivity, conducting polymers, light harvesting, biomaterials and energy storage materials.

New Zealand Genes, Enzymes, Microbes Biotechnology Centre of Research Excellence
Host Institution: Waikato University, Director: Professor R Daniel
Partner: University of Auckland
Investigation of microrganisms for biocontrol and biotranformations applying biotechnology to industrial and environmental problems.

New Zealand Institute of Mathematics and its Applications
Host Institution: University of Auckland, Director: Professor V Jones
Partners: New Zealand Mathematics Research Institute
Application of high-level mathematical techniques to bioengineering, bioinformatics, medical statistics, optimisation and risk assessment to enhance decision making in complex systems.

New Zealand Public Health Research Institute
Host Institution: University of Otago, Director: Professor R Beaglehole
Partner: University of Auckland
Development of effective health policies for improving the health of all New Zealanders and for promoting sustainable healthy environments.

Nga Pae o te Maramatanga (Horizons of Insight) – The National Institute of Research Excellence for Maori Development and Advancement
Host Institution: University of Auckland, Director: Professor L Smith
Partners: Te Whare Wananga O Awanuiarangi, Te Wananga O Aotearoa, Victoria University of Wellington, University of Otago, University of Waikato, Landcare
Research leading to new initiatives in education , health and science that benefit Maori.

Perinatal Systems Biology
Host Institution: University of Auckland, Director: Professor P Gluckman
Partners: AgResearch, Massey University, University of Otago
Research on fetal development using system, cellular and biochemical biology combined with new biotechnology to identify therapies for diseases that have major impact on the health of New Zealanders.

The Riddett Centre
Host Institution: Massey University, Director: Professors P Moughan and H Singh
Partners: AgResearch, Crop & Food, HortResearch, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, New Zealand Dairy Research Institute
Research in food science and technology to create strategic opportunities for advancing knowledge in food and biologically active materials.

This list will be posted on the Royal Society of New Zealand web site (

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