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AMP gives helping hand to innovative PhD students

8 June 2016
For immediate release

AMP Financial Services gives helping hand to innovative PhD students striving to join likes of Rutherford, Munro and Hackett

The winner of the 2016 AMP Financial Services Ignite competition is Ankita Gangotra from the University of Auckland, who wins $5,000 from AMP to further her nanotechnology research. Ankita was one of 10 PhD student finalists who took to the stage at the third annual AMP Ignite event in Wellington to pitch their ground-breaking research in just two and a half minutes through storytelling, performance, art, dance, comedy and music.

On behalf of the judges, AMP’s General Manager of Human Resources, Shaun Philp said, “Kiwis are renowned for being innovative and at AMP we believe it’s important to embrace new ways of thinking and new ways of doing things and to support others who are daring to do just that.

“Ankita impressed us with how she was able to convey her head-scratchingly complex research in a straightforward way. She used humour and creative demonstrations to share with us her fascination for the science of very small things, or nanotechnology.”

Ankita, whose mother inspired her to get into science, is looking at how by using what she calls “nano-pipettes” we can study the biomechanics of biological matter smaller than human cells, to see how they are impacted by disease. She says, “If developed successfully, this sort of technology could prove to be a useful research tool and has the potential to be used in very early diagnostic systems.”

Beth Lippitt from the University of Otago won the People’s Choice award as voted for by the audience. Dressed as Super Girl and mixing large beakers of chemicals filling the stage with dry ice, Beth shared her research to produce chemical cages to trap gases like carbon dioxide to reduce the effects of global warming. And, as a special surprise in recognition of all their hard work and effort, each finalist was awarded $1,000 to help them advance their innovative quest to change the world.

Mr Philp said, “Often having the skills to think creatively and deliver an engaging proposal is key to achieving funding further down the track, so we see this experience as an opportunity that will help to set the students up in years to come, and we can’t wait to see what they go on to achieve.”

AMP Ignite finalists were mentored by Dr Michelle Dickinson, TV personality Te Radar, and AMP’s resident techxpert Peter Hall. The judges were Dr Jane Magnusson and AMP’s Shaun Philp and Catherine Johnston.


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