Increased number of projects funded and strong support for early career researchers
A total of 117 research projects have been allocated $65.2 million (excl. GST) of funding in this year’s Marsden Fund grants, which support New Zealand’s best investigator-initiated research in the areas of science, engineering, maths, social sciences and the humanities.
Posted: Thu, 3 Nov 2016
This is an increase on the $54 million (excl. GST) awarded to 92 projects last year, due to the unprecedented increase of $66 million (excl. GST) over four years announced by the Government in Budget 2016.
The grants are distributed over three years, paying for salaries, students and postdoctoral positions, institutional overheads and research consumables.
There is strong support for early career researchers this year, with 49 Fast-Start grants awarded, compared with 29 last year, says Marsden Fund Council Chair, Professor Juliet Gerrard FRSNZ.
“The Fast-Start grants are designed to allow early career researchers to establish their independent research areas and create research momentum for these individuals.
“The assessment panels were really impressed with the quality of the Fast-Start proposals this year and so we are pleased to be able to use some of the extra funding to support more of them.”
Many of the Fast-Start researchers are looking at issues very much at the forefront of public interest today such as climate change, nitrogen run off, immigration and understanding New Zealand’s native plants and animals.
The number of grants awarded to established researchers is also up from 63 last year to 68 in 2016, thanks to the increase in funding. Topics under investigation by those receiving a Standard grant also cover a range of topics of great interest to New Zealand, including slow moving landslides, ancient Māori social networks, and how melanin acts as a sunscreen.
Overall the Marsden Fund is a long term investment in New Zealand, says Professor Gerrard. “By supporting our smartest New Zealand researchers to work on their best ideas, including an understanding of how things work at a fundamental level, the Marsden Fund helps to build a strong research base for New Zealand, which will benefit us all in the future. The increased success of our emerging researchers this year gives us confidence that our long term future is in great shape.”
The Marsden Fund is managed by the Royal Society of New Zealand on behalf of the government.