Funding awarded for global collaborative research

A project aimed at predicting when the next volcanic eruption will occur is among those funded by the Government's Catalyst Fund.

Six research projects involving Massey University have been awarded more than $2 million from the $4.75 million Government Catalyst Fund, which aims to link New Zealand with other world-class international research groups and initiatives.

The Massey projects range from developing 5G communication technology worldwide, predicting when the next volcano will erupt and child development in New Zealand, to quality housing for the elderly, creating metals from plants and distinguishing “doomed” endangered species from ones that can be saved.

In his announcement Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce said “Collaborating with the world’s best research teams allows us to increase the excellence and impact of our science, ensuring we remain at the forefront of new knowledge.”

This Catalyst Fund investment in global strategic partnerships has been made through the Catalyst: Strategic funding stream, administered by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Research project descriptions

More detailed project descriptions are available online.

Mitigating volcanic hazards through advanced technologies

Massey leader: Dr Georg Zellmer, Institute of Agriculture and Environment
Research partners: GNS Science (New Zealand), University of Auckland (New Zealand), University of Hokkaido (Japan)
Funding: $446,494

The projects takes advantage of the record of crystals formed in magma during previous eruptions to quantitatively determine the rates and timing of events that led to the eruption. The results from this work will be directly applicable to the applied monitoring of New Zealand’s volcanoes and incorporated into the GeoNet project.

Climate Change Adaptation in Alpine and Sub-Antarctic Island Plants

Massey leader: Professor Peter Lockhart, Institute of Fundamental Sciences
Research partners: University of Otago (New Zealand), Univerite de Rennes (France), Institut National de la Recherché Agronomique (France), Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology (Germany), The Leibniz Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops (Germany), University of Manchester (United Kingdom)
Funding: $149,950

Together with European partners the project will use comparative methods to improve understanding of the vulnerability and robustness of alpine zone and sub-Antarctic island ecosystems. Improving understanding of adaptation and how ecosystems respond to climate change will ensure management plans for conserving biological diversity are effective.

Ageing, housing and health: A collaborative study

Massey leader: Professor Christine Stephens, School of Psychology
Research partners: University of Auckland (New Zealand), PrefabNZ, Swansea University (United Kingdom), University of Alberta (Canada)
Funding: $141,727

The project will investigate the housing needs of older people, particularly in regard to the ways in which housing contributes to social participation and social engagement. The findings will contribute to public policy for the development of housing improvement and planning for future housing in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Redefining the dense world of 5G telecommunications

Massey leader: Dr Syed Faraz Hasan, School of Engineering and Advanced Technology
Research partners: Auckland University of Technology (New Zealand), Nanyang Technological University (Singapore), Sungkyunkwan University (South Korea)
Funding: $128,459

This project explores innovative methods to make future 5G communication technology a reality without incurring heavy financial investment. This work changes the very nature of 5G networks from being fixed, capacity-limited and hardware-driven to being dynamic, always-available and software-driven.

Phytocat: high value products from metal-rich biomass

Massey leader: Professor Chris Anderson, Institute of Agriculture and Environment
Research partners: University of Otago (New Zealand), University of York (United Kingdom), University of British Columbia (Canada)
Funding: $291,945

Green chemistry is a strategy that exploits waste to manufacture products with minimal effect on the environment. Phytocat is a multidisciplinary response to the global need to recycle metals from waste, where plants are used to create high-value and industrially-important compounds.

Growing up healthy in families across the globe – Te ao whanau

Massey leader: Professor Chris Cunningham, Māori Health and Development Research Centre
Research partners: Auckland University of Technology (New Zealand), University of Auckland (New Zealand), ScotCen Social Research (United Kingdom), ESRI (Geographic information systems company)
Funding: $429,017

This research collaboration brings together five of the most influential child development studies with relevance to Aotearoa: The Pacific Islands Family Study, Te Hoe Nuku Roa (Māori Families Longitudinal Study) and the triad of Growing Up studies (New Zealand, Ireland and Scotland). A new analysis aims to determine how and why child development environments change and which environments are supportive and which are not.

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