Marsden Fund gives a boost to climate change research

Several climate change projects were given a boost in the latest Marsden Fund investment of $83.6 million, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods said today.

The projects that will benefit from the investment include –

 Projects aimed at addressing climate change

  • Geologic champagne: What controls sudden release of CO2 at glacial terminations on the Chatham Rise? (The University of Auckland) – $952,000
  • Drought or Deluge? How did Rainfall in the Tropical South Pacific Respond to Sudden Climate Change During the Glacial Period? (Victoria University of Wellington) – $960,000
  • Could airborne microplastics play a role in climate change? (University of Canterbury) – $300,000

Projects aimed at renewable energy issues

  • Molecular wiring of graphene with organic films (University of Canterbury) – $960,000
  • Photon multiplying light harvesting antenna systems for luminescent solar concentrators (Victoria University of Wellington) – $278,499
  • Can enhanced exciton diffusion propel organic photovoltaic cells beyond the bulk heterojunction? (Victoria University of Wellington) – $891,197


“Science and research have been critical in the progression of our Zero Carbon Bill that returns to parliament today, as well as giving New Zealanders more choice on electric cars, and drives our work alongside businesses to reduce emissions,” Dr Woods said.

“We welcome today’s investment that tackles head-on both climate change and our goal of running the country exclusively on renewable electricity by 2050.”

The knowledge and solutions that will be created because of this research would put New Zealand in good stead towards creating a productive, sustainable and inclusive New Zealand, Dr Woods said.

The Marsden Fund is New Zealand’s premier fund for investigator-led research. Since 1995, it has supported excellence in research across science and the humanities.

The Marsden Fund is administered by the Royal Society Te Apārangi. Proposals are evaluated by independent assessment panels and the final recommendations for funding are made by the Marsden Fund Council, which is chaired by Professor David Bilkey.

The different funding categories include:

  • Fast-Start proposals – targeted at early career researchers. It is designed to establish independent research and create research momentum for these individuals. Up to $100,000 p.a. for programmes lasting up to 3 years.
  • Standard proposals – larger grants open to established researchers as well as emerging researchers. Up to $240,000 -$320,000 per year (varies by discipline).
  • Marsden Fund Council Awards – a larger award category specifically for interdisciplinary proposals. Awards of up to $1 million per year for up to 3 years. The 2019 round saw the first successful awards for this category.

2019 funding round

  • $83.671m (excl. GST) over 3 years
  • 125 successful proposals:
    • 74 Standard proposals
    • 49 Fast-Start proposals
    • 2 Marsden Fund Council Awards

Further information including the full results are on the Royal Society Te Apārangi’s website.

Source: Royal Society Te Apārangi

Author: Bob Edlin

Editor of AgScience Magazine and Editor of the AgScience Blog

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