Marsden Fund Awards 2023 – we go in search of the ag/hort science project winners

The universities, crown research institutes and other organisations which have secured money from the latest Marsden Fund decisions have quickly made public the news of their good fortune.

The announcements included:

  • GNS Science:

GNS Science researchers awarded over $1.6 million from …

  • University of Otago

Otago researchers secure almost $20m in Marsden Fund …

  • University of Auckland

University celebrates $21m of Marsden funding for research

  • University of Waikato

University of Waikato researchers receive record-level …

  •  Cawthron Institute

Cawthron-led research into the value of hybrid species …

  • University of Canterbury

Pioneering endometriosis study awarded Marsden funding

And so on ..

But AgScience was looking for announcements of funding for projects of special interest to agricultural and horticultural scientists.

This one from Lincoln Agritech looked promising:

Researcher Wins Marsden Grant To Search For New Battery Materials

But this project has been awarded $360,000 to help the quest for new materials for efficient rechargeable batteries that are less expensive, less toxic, provide more energy for the same size, and make it easier to recycle lithium.

Dr  Joseph Nelson’s Marsden Fund Fast-Start project will use high-performance computing to predict the structure of new compounds, and quantum mechanics to evaluate their energy potential.

By the end of the project, he aims to have created a comprehensive database of new compounds that are likely to be viable for new batteries.

Plant and Food Research had something promising to announce, too

Plant & Food Research epigenetic project receives Marsden grant

A Plant & Food Research epigenetic project has received support in the latest Marsden Fund investment round. The project will examine how different reproductive modes of species can influence how traits are passed down through generations.

Project leader, Dr Dafni Anastasiadi, says studying the sources and consequences of epigenetic inheritance is critical to understanding nongenetic inheritance, phenotype, and the adaptive potential of populations and species. This is particularly relevant in light of rapid environmental change, where epigenetic modifications are increasingly recognised as important mechanisms for responding to stress.

But the exemplar species for this research will be the brine shrimp Artemia, where both sexual and asexual reproduction co-exist.

All up,  the Marsden Fund has allocated $83.59 million to 123 projects for research in the humanities, engineering, mātauranga, mathematics, science, and the social sciences for three years.

The Marsden Fund continues to provide support for up-and-coming researchers, with 47 Fast-Start grants awarded, for a total of $16,920,000 (excluding GST).

Fast-Start grants are designed to encourage the development of independent research and build momentum for exceptional careers in New Zealand.

Established researchers and their teams were awarded 76 Marsden Fund Standard grants, for a total of $66,671,000 with a success rate of 12.8%. These research projects will address a wide range of issues of both local and international importance, including uncovering the molecular mechanisms of migraine, investigating the impacts of generative artificial intelligence on linguistic diversity, characterising the key roles of lanternfish in marine ecosystems, and combining biomolecular methods and mātauranga Māori to interrogate relationships between cetaceans (whales and dolphins) and humans.

Readers might winkle out what your editor did not find in the Marsden Fund awards 2023.

His perusal, at first blush, found no projects directly related to agricultural or horticultural science.



Author: Bob Edlin

Editor of AgScience Magazine and Editor of the AgScience Blog