Faculty of Science projects awarded $9.3m from Marsden Fund

The ‘memory effect’ of cloud formations and better ways to predict extreme weather are just two of 16 Faculty of Science projects to attract funding from Te Pūtea Rangahau a Marsden.

In total, the Faculty’s research has been awarded $9.26 million.

Successfully-funded projects ranged across almost every discipline, from the Department of Physics which was awarded $2.7 million across three projects, to the School of Biological Sciences, awarded more than $1.5 million, also across three projects.

Seven Fast Start projects were funded in total, including Dr Arne Nieuwenhuys’ investigation of the effects of sleep deprivation on our ability to cope when we are under stress, and Dr Yalu Wen’s work using biological big data to predict disease risk.

Larger projects funded this year include Dr Anna Santure’s work to examine why many invasive species have adapted rapidly despite low genetic diversity within the population. She will look in particular at the role of transposable elements – DNA sequences that ‘jump’ around the genome – in creating novel genetic variation.

The project is intended to provide insight into the mechanisms enabling rapid adaptation in species with low genetic diversity, in particular in threatened populations, in the context of accelerating global change.

Professor Bernd Krauskopf’s project to investigate feedback loops in climate systems received $689,000 in funding, Professor Stuart Murdoch’s project looking at multimode microresonator optical frequency combs received $922,000 in funding and Dr Claude Aguergaray’s project looking at new pulse dynamics for the lasers of tomorrow received $960,000.

Dean of the Faculty of Science Professor John Hosking congratulated successful researchers, saying the funding this year once again demonstrated the outstanding breadth and depth of research within the Faculty.

“I am delighted our work has attracted such significant funding across such a wide number of disciplines,” he says. “It’s a vote of confidence in our researchers and their ability to do high quality science that really is first class.”

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