Skip to content

Researchers given grants

Researchers given grants worth $6.6m

By John Gibb

The University of Otago has gained more than $6 million for research in the latest round of Marsden Fund grants amid rapidly rising competitive pressures.

    The university got $6,185,419 to fund eight standard research projects and three $140,000 “fast start” awards for young researchers. This result was second only to Auckland University, which gained $9,505,057.

    Last year, Otago received $11.4 million for 25 projects, its largest Marsden funding. Otago then came only narrowly second to Auckland University, which had gained $11.7 million for 23 projects.

    A record $43.8 million was provided overall last year by the Government's, Marsden Fund, which supports curiosity-driven basic research. This year, $32.2 million was allocated.

    Massey University has emerged as a significant competitor this year, gaining $5,161,299 to be third in the funding list.

    Associate Prof Glenn Buchan, the associate dean of research at the Otago University School of Medical Sciences, said the outcome confirmed Otago’s standing as a leading national research institution.

    This was a positive result for the university and for the medical sciences school, researchers in the latter having gained four of the standard project awards and a fast start award, Prof Buchan said.

    However, he had “great concerns” about the urgent need to increase funding for such “blue skies” basic research.

    Limited funds in the Marsden pool meant many very good quality science projects could not be funded, adding to brain drain pressures and potentially forcing top researchers overseas, he said. — ODT Oct 9, 2004