$59 million in Marsden grants – who got what?
The annual Marsden funding round has been announced with $59 million allocated to 109 projects across the New Zealand science system.
The full list of winning projects is here. Congratulations to all the winners. Competition for the funding is intense – 1157 applications were received this year, equating to a funding success rate of 9.4 percent.
That appears to be up slightly on previous years, probably owing to the fact that this year is a “record” funding year.
Science and Innovation minister Steven Joyce explained:
“The larger amount available this year to fund these proposals is due to the Government’s regular increases to the fund since it came into office five years ago. In Budget 2013, a further $20 million was allocated over four years to the Fund, and that has made a real difference. The Marsden Fund is now 37 per cent larger than it was in 2008/09.”
The funded project leaderboard
University of Auckland: 35
University of Otago: 22
Victoria University: 21
University of Canterbury: 11
Massey University: 7
GNS Science: 4
Waikato University: 3
Plant & Food: 2
Callaghan Innovation: 1
Landcare Research: 1
The five largest funding allocations (click to zoom)
Victoria University was quick out of the gates to crow about its achievement – a record 21 funded projects worth $11.2 million.
Victoria’s Professor Charles Daugherty, Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Research), said: “The successful projects demonstrate the diversity and breadth of research being carried out at Victoria, as evidenced by Victoria’s Performance Based Research Fund (PBRF) ranking, in April of this year, as first among New Zealand universities based on the research performance of its academic staff.”
Crown research institute, Plant & Food Research scored two grants.
“The emergence of plants onto land was one of Earth’s major evolutionary events, but at that time the environment had a number of challenges, including high levels of damaging UV radiation,” says Dr Kevin Davies. “Our research will look at liverworts, the closest living relative of the first land plants, and study how these plants adapt the production of pigment molecules to counteract the effects of UV. This will, in turn, provide some understanding of how plants may adapt and respond to shifts in environmental conditions as a result of predicted global climate change.”
The University of Otago secured 22 projects totalling $13 million.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) Professor Richard Blaikie said that with the increase in the size of the fund announced in the Budget, he had hoped Otago might receive a greater amount of funding this year.
“The highly competitive nature of the funding means that the awarding of two or three extra grants for projects close to the border-line can make the difference between a good year and a great year for funding from this source.”
“However, it is good to see that the fund, with its focus on research excellence, continues to support work across humanities, business and social sciences, as it does across physical sciences, biomedical sciences and health research, when the successful projects are viewed in totality.”
Peter Griffin manages the Royal Society's Science Media Centre. He posts at SciBlogs.