Marsden Fund supports world-leading research with $84.751m of grants

The Marsden Fund has allocated $84.751 million of grants to 134 research projects to support New Zealand research in the humanities, science, maths, social sciences and engineering

One large interdisciplinary project received a Marsden Fund Council Award worth $3 million. The project will investigate the links between asthma in young children in New Zealand and biodiversity, seeking insights into the role biodiversity plays in children’s respiratory health, and whether  areas containing native plant species are even more beneficial.

Marsden Fund Fast-Start grants support early career researchers to develop independent research and build exceptional careers in New Zealand.

In 2020, there were 59 recipients of Fast-Start grants for a total of $17,700,000 .  The success rate was 13.3% for these awards. Projects include topics such as how toxic metal accumulation affects the brain of honeybees and hive health and what the patterns of trade and husbandry of domestic animals tell us about the interactions and movements of people throughout the Western Pacific.

Established research leaders and their teams were awarded 74 Marsden Fund grants with a success-rate of 10.3%. The research projects address a range of issues of both local and international importance including studying the impacts of Australian bushfires on New Zealand glacial environments.

The selection process included substantial international peer review.

Marsden Fund Council Chair Professor David Bilkey, congratulating those who received funding, said he was aware that these are highly competitive funding rounds and there were many excellent proposals that could not secure support.

“New Zealanders are world leaders in many research areas and the Marsden Fund plays a critical role in ensuring that we continue to have expertise available in these fields,” he said.

“Furthermore, Marsden Fund support enhances connectivity between researchers, both nationally and internationally whilst also facilitating the engagement between researchers and their communities”.

“The engagement with mātauranga Māori has been recognised across discipline areas,” notes Professor Bilkey.

Some examples include investigating how Māori food realities, values and principles (kaupapa) can shape discussions about what we eat, how we obtain it, and how we value it.

The success rate for applicants is up slightly from last year (10.7%) to 11.5% this year.  But of the six proposals submitted for this round, only one Marsden Fund Council Award was funded, as opposed to two last year.

The grants are distributed over three years and are fully costed, paying for salaries, students and postdoctoral positions, institutional overheads and research consumables.

The fund is managed by Royal Society Te Apārangi on behalf of the government.

Source: Royal Society Te Apārangi

Author: Bob Edlin

Editor of AgScience Magazine and Editor of the AgScience Blog

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