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Future Scientists Of New Zealand Get Funding Boost

Media release
9 November 2009

Future Scientists Of New Zealand Get Funding Boost

Six top students from throughout New Zealand are the new beneficiaries of an environmental research scheme funded by Bayer New Zealand Ltd. The students, selected from among 45 entries, are from Invercargill, Christchurch, Palmerston North, Otago and two from Wellington.

The 2009 BAYERBoost environmental scholarship winners include four secondary school and two tertiary students who will receive funding to pursue research in their area of interest over a six to 12 week period, under the guidance of their nominated host organisations.

The students will work on a range of environmental research projects around New Zealand this summer including:

• Investigating microbial contamination of shellfish at Riverton, Invercargill
• Research on stream environments, profiling the Mangaharei and Mangakino streams on the East Coast
• Evaluating and characterising deep-sea life from video and still images
• Researching the ecological and economic impact of fresh water eels in the New Zealand environment
• Re-measurement of the Totara trial at Tapapakanga Regional Park to gather data for improving the diversity of native New Zealand forests
• Researching the small-scaled skink in the Tongariro-Taupo region.

BAYERBoost, which is administered by the Royal Society of New Zealand in partnership with Bayer New Zealand, offers students a unique opportunity to be involved in hands-on research and to learn skills appropriate to their chosen fields of study through summer work projects.

This year’s successful students will receive between $3,000 and $6,000 in grants, depending on their level of study.

Bayer spokesperson William Malpass says that as a research-based global company, Bayer has supported environmental and education initiatives for more than 100 years and supports a number of global projects aimed at increasing environmental awareness and improving knowledge of the environment among young people.

“It’s exciting to see so many young New Zealanders dedicated to making improvements in our environment and protecting our natural resources,” says Mr Malpass.

“What has impressed us about our winners this year is the emphasis they have placed on the cultural, economic and ecological impact of their proposed research.

“These young people are pushing the boundaries of what so many of us take for granted and they should be heralded for their passion and commitment. We are very much looking forward to the results from each of their projects,” he says.

Through the partnership with the Royal Society, Bayer is in its second year of contributing $120,000 over three years to the BAYERBoost scholarship scheme.

To be eligible for a BAYERBoost scholarship, students must be under the age of 24, enrolled in a New Zealand senior secondary school or undergraduate tertiary programme, and studying environmental sciences or related areas.

The 2009 BAYERBoost Environmental Scholarship winners:
Recipient: Bailey Lovett, Year 12 student at James Hargest School, Invercargill
Host: Environment Southland
Research: Six week study on microbial contamination of shellfish at Riverton

Recipient: Raumiria Pohatu, Year 12 student at Aranui High School, Christchurch
Host: He Oranga mo nga Uri Tuku Iho Trust, Ruatoria
Research: Six weeks research on stream environments, profiling the Mangaharei and Mangakino stream within the sub-catchment.

Recipient: Sonja Hempel, Year 13 student at Onslow College, Wellington
Host: NIWA, Wellington
Research: Ten weeks evaluating the intensity of sampling required to adequately characterize deep-sea benthic assemblages from sea floor video and still images.

Recipient: Alexandra Bowles, Year 13 student at St Mary’s College in Wellington
Host: Otago University’s Zoology department
Research: Ten weeks researching fresh water eels and their ecological and economic impact in the New Zealand freshwater environment.

Recipient: Vicki Alderson-Wallace undergraduate Bachelor of Science student at Otago University
Host: Scion Research, Rotorua
Research: 12 weeks to undertake a research project to assist in the re-measurement of the Totara trial at Tapapakanga Regional Park.

Recipient: Moniqua Nelson-Tunley undergraduate Bachelor of Science degree at Massey University
Host: Tongariro Natural History Society
Research: Twelve week research into the small-scaled skink of the Tongariro-Taupo region

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