University of Auckland Celebrates $19.8M from Marsden Fund

Press Release – University of Auckland

University of Auckland Celebrates $19.8 Million in Marsden Fund Awards

The University of Auckland is celebrating the success of 31 of its researchers and research groups whose projects have won $19.8 million in the Marsden Fund round.

Research at the University supported by the fund will address diverse topics including the origins of early life on earth; defending blood flow to the ‘selfish’ brain; a Māori archaeology of threatened rock art; building an ‘atlas’ of the human gut; and the impact of marketing ‘health’ to children.

“These awards recognise the high calibre of researchers at the University of Auckland as well as the quality and breadth of our research,” says Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Jim Metson.

“The Marsden Fund supports the cutting-edge of new research which will lead to discoveries that shape our future. We congratulate our researchers for this recognition of their outstanding work.”

Thirteen research projects from the Faculty of Science received a total of $8.8 million. Among these, Professor Kathleen Campbell will carry out research to find early life in terrestrial hot springs.

Seven projects from the Faculty of Arts were awarded a total of $4.6 million. These include Dr Alice Mills who will study the role of stable housing in reducing re-offending by ex-prisoners. Dr Avril Bell will pursue research titled ‘Tāngata Tiriti: Learning the trick of standing upright here’.

Grants of $3 million were awarded to four research projects from the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, including Dr Fiona McBryde who will investigate a pioneering technique measuring the dynamic relationship between blood pressure, sympathetic nerve activity and brain blood flow.

Grants worth a total of $1.5 million were awarded to three projects from the Faculty of Engineering, including for Dr Lihua Tang, for research into self-adaptive technologies to harvest electricity from environmental vibrations. Dr Xuyun Zhang will study versatile and efficient anomaly detection for fog computing applications.

The Auckland Bioengineering Institute was awarded two grants totalling $1.25 million, including for research by Associate Professor Leo Cheng titled: ‘An atlas of the gut: a framework for integrating structure to function’.

The Faculty of Education and Social Work and the James Henare Research Centre each won a grant of $300,000.

Applications to the Marsden Fund are highly competitive. This year the fund distributed $84.6 million to 133 research projects around the country.

Successful projects from the University of Auckland are:
• Dr Ethan Cochrane
Faculty of Arts
Land and Agriculture in Ancient Samoa: Uncovering the Origins of the Polynesian Chiefdoms
$720,000

• Dr Lihua Tang
Faculty of Engineering
Self-adaptive vibration energy harvesting based on nonlinear energy sink
$300,000

• Professor Kathleen Campbell
Faculty of Science
Some Liked it Hot: Searching for Early Life in Terrestrial Hot Springs
$958,000

• Pedram Hekmati
Faculty of Science
Exploiting gauge theory and duality in geometry
$300,000

• Dr Gerard O’Regan
James Henare Research Centre
Initiating a Māori archaeology of threatened North Island rock art
$300,000

• Associate Professor Quentin Atkinson
Faculty of Science
Political gaming: using economic games to explore the foundations of political ideology
$835,000

• Professor Joanna Putterill
Faculty of Science
Functional analysis of MtING2 – Uncovering an independent mechanism for control of flowering by winter cold
$895,000

• Dr Kristal Cain
Faculty of Science
The heart of song; understanding the origins of vocal learning using New Zealand’s missing link, the titipounamu or rifleman
$300,000

• Dr Darren Powell
Faculty of Education & Social Work
Consuming kids: The impact of marketing ‘health’ to children
$300,000

• Associate Professor Claire Postlethwaite
Faculty of Science
Noisy networks: understanding how stochasticity affects mathematical models of cognitive systems
$545,000

• Associate Professor Lisa Bailey
Faculty of Arts
Servants of God, Slaves of the Church: Rhetoric and Realities of Service in Early Medieval Europe
$625,000

• Dr Hirini Kaa
Faculty of Arts
The Young Māori Party: Leading Iwi into Modernity
$300,000

• Dr Jeremy Armstrong
Faculty of Arts
Blood and Money: The Military Industrial Complex in Archaic Central Italy
$635,000

• Associate Professor Igor Klep
Faculty of Science
Free Analysis and its Applications
$455,000

• Professor Christian Hartinger
Faculty of Science
Blossoming of Bioinspired Supramolecular Architectures: Towards Applications in Catalysis, Drug Delivery and Materials Science
$910,000

• Associate Professor Tim Dare
Faculty of Arts
An Ethical Framework for Social Policy Applications of Predictive Analytics
$635,000

• Professor Bryony James
Faculty of Engineering
Why do texturally complex foods lead us to eat less?
$945,000

• Dr Alice Mills
Faculty of Arts
Going straight home? The role of stable housing in reducing re-offending by ex-prisoners
$845,000

• Dr Matthew Egbert
Faculty of Science
Behaviour Before Evolution? A transdisciplinary investigation into the role of self-preserving behaviour at the origin of life
$300,000

• Dr Fiona McBryde
Faculty of Medical & Health Sciences
Defending blood flow to the ‘selfish’ brain
$959,000

• Dr Avril Bell
Faculty of Arts
Tāngata Tiriti: Learning the trick of standing upright here
$845,000

• Dr Joanne Davidson
Faculty of Medical & Health Sciences
Does ATP release contribute to perinatal brain injury after ischaemia?
$300,000

• Dr Xuyun Zhang
Faculty of Engineering
Versatile and Efficient Anomaly Detection for Fog Computing Applications
$300,000

• Professor Anthony Poole
Faculty of Science
Rewiring life: using synthetic biology and experimental evolution to unravel the evolutionary origins of DNA
$850,000

• Associate Professor Nickola Overall
Faculty of Science
Conflict recovery in families: Why inevitable conflict does not have to be detrimental
$840,000

• Associate Professor Rachel Fewster
Faculty of Science
Cells and whistles: supercharging our biodiversity monitoring toolkit using genetic and acoustic records
$680,000

• Dr Kenneth Tran
Auckland Bioengineering Institute
Diagnosing the diabetic heart
$300,000

• Dr Susan McGlashan
Faculty of Medical & Health Sciences
Stiffness matters: Unravelling the reciprocal relationship between tissue mechanical stiffness and cellular mechanosensitivity
$920,000

• Professor Richard Easther
Faculty of Science
Ultralight Dark Matter: Dynamics and Astrophysics
$910,000

• Professor Peter Adams
Faculty of Medical & Health Sciences
Shaping Public Policy – Mixed Methods Study of Alcohol, Tobacco, Gambling and Food Industry Points of Influence with Policy Makers
$825,000

• Associate Professor Leo Cheng
Auckland Bioengineering Institute
An Atlas of the Gut: A Framework for Integrating Structure to Function
$950,000
ENDS

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