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More funding for community based science in Taranaki

Press release; Venture Taranaki
20 July 2018

Taranaki’s Curious Minds continues to grow with the announcement of funding for a new community science project to be undertaken in 2018, and more funding for additional projects this year.

The project, titled Trashformers and led by Upcycle Taranaki, will look at ways in which plastic beach litter can be reused, and see New Plymouth Boys’ High School students partner with Falcon Engineering, Taranaki Conservationists, Rethinking Plastics Revolution, the New Plymouth District Council and the Taranaki Regional Council.

“Trashformers is about keeping our beaches clean by using science to identify alternative uses for degraded, weathered, and aged plastics,” says Josh Richardson of Venture Taranaki, the region’s Curious Minds coordinator.

“The project will see the design and construction of machines that shred, melt and mould plastics into a building block, which will then be stress tested.”

“The process will be repeated with newer plastics and varieties of recyclables to compare the strength and suitability as a durable building material.”

“Curious Minds projects offer groups within our community the chance to work on local issues that are important to them,” Josh says.

“This will bring the total number of science projects funded by Curious Minds in Taranaki to 31 since 2015, covering areas as diverse as endangered species conservation, wireless connectivity in rural and urban environments, and now groups such as Upcycle Taranaki working on solutions to global issues like managing the overwhelming amount of plastic circulating in our marine environment,” he says.

Venture Taranaki are also excited to announce that more community-based science project funding will be available for 2019.

“The Curious Minds Participatory Science Platform in Taranaki will re-open its doors for funding applications from 1 August,” Josh says.

“Community groups can apply for up to $20,000 to support their locally relevant investigations, and we are really looking forward to working with the community to turn more amazing research ideas into functioning research projects.”

“Curious Minds is all about collaboration, we are looking for projects that offer valuable learning opportunities, both for the community participants, and for the science sector partners that contribute to this research” Josh says.

Additional info about Curious Minds in Taranaki
Taranaki is one of three regions where the Curious Minds Participatory Science Platform (PSP) is offered. The Platform supports community groups to work collaboratively with science professionals on locally relevant research projects. Curious Minds projects are community driven, which means the focus of investigation remains relevant to local people. It is an initiative under A Nation of Curious Minds, a government programme to encourage New Zealanders to get involved in science and technology. A Nation of Curious Minds is coordinated by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Ministry of Education and the Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor. Venture Taranaki coordinates the Curious Minds Participatory Science Platform locally, and since 2015 has approved over $500,000 in funding to community based science and technology initiatives. See


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