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Prestigious Backing for Marine Research

Prestigious Backing for Marine Research

University of Canterbury Researchers Awarded Big Funding from US Foundation
7 February 2005

The Marine Ecology Research Group (MERG) at the University of Canterbury has, for the second time in five years, been funded by a major United States philanthropic organisation.

Professor David Schiel (Biological Sciences), and his team of post-doctoral, PhD and Masters students, will receive US$330,000 (NZ$457,000 approx) funding over the next three years from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation of New York to support coastal ecosystems research.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awards grants in higher education, museums and art conservation, performing arts, conservation and the environment, and public affairs.

Professor Schiel says he is honoured to be awarded a second grant by the Foundation, having received similar funding in 2000 to support his marine research group.

In addition to supporting up to eight post-graduate and post-doctoral researchers, the money will help support a large field-based programme and equipment. Most importantly, it will enable student researchers to study and attend specialty workshops with international partners.

MERG is part of the wider Marine Ecosystem Dynamics consortium which addresses nearshore coastal processes across hemispheres and provides a basis for students to work internationally on large-scale problems of global concern. Other members of the consortium who receive Mellon Foundation funding include Oregon State University and University of California, Santa Barbara in the United States, Universidad Catolica in Santiago, Chile, and the University of Capetown, South Africa.

Within the consortium the UC group has a close relationship with Professors Bruce Menge and Jane Lubchenco and their researchers at Oregon State University.

Professor Menge, who is currently visiting the University of Canterbury, says that Prof Schiel’s group is an important part of the Consortium and that the Mellon Foundation funding helps create “an international nexus” of young scientists working on similar topics but from a number of different angles.

“In addition to doing cutting-edge science, a major goal of our work is the development of a new generation of researchers that take a global view of coastal ecosystem science”.


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