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$1 million to connect Kiwis with science

author:Steven Joyce

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce today announced the successful applicants for the $1 million Unlocking Curious Minds Contestable fund.

“The Unlocking Curious Minds pilot fund is an important step towards engaging more New Zealanders to learn about science, particularly our young people"

The fund offers two levels of grants: up to $20,000 for local projects, and up to $150,000 for regional or national projects. 

“It is great to see high demand for the fund, with a number of impressive proposals from a wide range of applicants, including community organisations, schools, charitable trusts, universities, Crown research institutes, and the business sector.

Applicants have really got into the spirit of the fund and identified a wide range of topics and projects, from monitoring bats and birds in UawaTolaga Bay, to mathematical modelling in South Auckland and underwater robotics at the top of the South Island” says Mr Joyce.

“As a result, a total of 28 applications spanning a range of science and technology topics have been awarded funding.” 

Other successful applications include:

  • a project to engage at risk youth in Otago, Southland and Auckland with science using waka as a travelling science classroom.
  • a programme for primary school children in Otara, using kid-friendly kits to test for kauri dieback   

The Unlocking Curious Minds fund is being implemented alongside a participatory science platform that will create research partnerships between communities and scientists.

The platform is being piloted in South Auckland, Taranaki and Otago this year. Lead organisations were recently appointed for each pilot area, along with a national co-ordinator.

Both initiatives were identified in the blueprint for the Science in Society project, A Nation of Curious Minds He Whenua Hihiri i te Mahara, which was developed in response to the National Science Challenges Panel’s leadership challenge to improve the understanding, skills, and adoption of science and technology in New Zealand.

Steven Joyce

MAY, 2015

More information about the Unlocking Curious Minds contestable fund and the participatory science platform can be found here. 2012