Auckland wins $14.7 million in Marsden grants

26 October 2012

Twenty three research groups from across The University of Auckland have been awarded a total of $14.7 million in the prestigious annual Marsden Fund round.

Their research will address issues as diverse as bullying and victimisation in young New Zealanders, understanding dark matter, and the mechanisms of heart failure.

“The Marsden Fund supports the very best investigators to do world class basic research,” said Marsden Fund Council chairperson Professor Juliet Gerrard in announcing the funding results.

“It is widely accepted worldwide that the most important breakthroughs are made when the best researchers are funded to work on their most exciting ideas.  This is what makes the Marsden Fund so vital for the long term success of New Zealand and makes Marsden researchers such an inspiring community."

Ten research groups led by investigators from the Faculty of Science received a total of $7.3 million, including a team headed by Dr Cate Macinnes-Ng who will investigate how native kauri forests respond to climate change.

Four research teams led by academics from the Faculty of Arts received a total of $1.8 million, including Dr Steven Ratuva studying Pacific regional security.

Investigators from the Auckland Bioengineering Group also led four successful applications, receiving a total of $3.1 million. Their research includes work by Professor Martyn Nash and colleagues on the mechanisms of heart failure.

Three research groups led by investigators from the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences received a total of $1 million, including Dr Zimei Wu and colleagues investigating a new strategy to guide anti-cancer agents to solid tumours.

A group led by Dr Deidre Brown from the National Institute of Creative Arts and Industries won a grant of $635,000 to investigate the history of indigenous art from Aotearoa New Zealand.

Researchers led by Dr Mark Vickers from the Liggins Institute received $785,000 to study how nutrition may affect reproductive development.

This year the fund distributed $54.6 million to 86 research teams around the country. All of the funded proposals are for three years.

Successful projects with first-named investigators from The University of Auckland are (in alphabetical order):

Dr Donna Rose Addis School of Psychology, Faculty of Science The imaginative brain: Neural networks supporting flexible future thinking $780,000

Dr Meagan Barclay Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences Resolving the nanostructure of the cochlear synapse $345,000

Dr Thor Besier Auckland Bioengineering Institute; Novel movement retraining for musculoskeletal and neurological disorders using artificial muscle $930,000

Professor Tom Bishop Department of English, Faculty of Arts Shakespeare's theatre games $535,000

Dr Brendon Brewer Department of Statistics, Faculty of Science Answering the hard questions: Massive Bayesian inference in astrophysics $345,000

Dr Deidre Brown School of Architecture and Planning, National Institute of Creative Arts and Industries Toi te Mana: A history of indigenous art from Aotearoa New Zealand $635,000

Dr Allan Cameron Film, Television and Media Studies, Faculty of Arts Face, screen, interface: Rendering the face in screen-based media from early cinema to digital special effects $345,000

Professor Michael C Corballis School of Psychology, Faculty of Science Brain asymmetries for gesture and speech $760,000

Dr Peng Du Auckland Bioengineering Institute Understanding the rapid electrophysiological transition in the stomach $345,000

Dr Debbie Hay School of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science Unlocking the untapped therapeutic potential of peptide receptors to combat diabetes, obesity and heart disease $910,000

Dr Gavin Hunt School of Psychology, Faculty of Science The genetics of complex cognition $920,000

Professor Peter Hunter Auckland Bioengineering Institute How does the heart grow? $910,000

Dr Richard Kingston School of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science Tracing the footsteps of a viral polymerase $975,000

Dr Dimitri Leemans Department of Mathematics, Faculty of Science Highly symmetric polytopes $580,000

Professor Thomas Lumley Department of Statistics, Faculty of Science Statistical methods for complex samples $700,000

Dr Catriona Macinnis-Ng School of Environment, Faculty of Science Ready for climate change? The ecophysiology of New Zealand kauri (Agathis australis) forests $345,000

Assoc Prof Peter Metcalf School of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science Towards atomic resolution biological imaging using free electron X-ray laser radiation - the granulovirus connection $970,000

Professor Martyn Nash Auckland Bioengineering Institute Heart failure and remodelling: From images to mechanics $940,000

Dr Steven Ratuva Centre for Pacific Studies, Faculty of Arts Rethinking future security: Exploring the nexus between state-based and indigenous security systems in the Pacific $600,000

Dr Matheson Russell Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts Recognition theory and the Christian tradition $345,000

Dr Jaimee Stuart School of Population Health, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences Ecological influences and life course impacts of bullying and victimization for youth in New Zealand $345,000

Dr Mark Vickers Liggins Institute Nutritionally driven reproductive development: Is the male in the driving seat? $785,000

Dr Zimei Wu School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences Interdisciplinary targeted strategy: novel approach to guide new hypoxia-activated prodrugs to solid tumours using pH-sensitive liposomes $345,000

Contact

Pauline Curtis, Communications Adviser Phone: +64 (0)9 923 3258 Mobile:  +64 (0)21 970 089 Email: p.curtis@auckland.ac.nz