Massey projects funded to unlock curious minds 

Five Massey projects get funding to engage youth in science.

Five Massey projects have been awarded more than $350,000 to help children explore biomechanics, air quality, Māori participation in science, virtual food and monitoring the marine environment. 

The funding was announced by Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods last week.

"Engaging our young people in science, and in particular those who have fewer opportunities to do so, is one of the best ways to ensure we have more New Zealanders choosing to enter STEM fields, and have a highly skilled, innovative workforce fit for the 21st century,” she said.

Unlocking Curious Minds is a contestible funding initiative supporting innovative science projects that engage New Zealanders, particularly young people, with science and technology in their everyday lives.

Project: A Breath of Fresh Air: Engaging Students with Air Quality Science! - $82,200

This project will involve students in Northland and South Auckland to learn about the air they breathe inside their classrooms and their homes and ways to improve it. Dr Mikael Boulic, of the School of Engineering and Advanced Technology will lead the project.

Project: He moana pukepuke e ekengia e te waka - A choppy sea can be navigated - $129,149

This project seeks to enhance Māori student participation and involvement in science and technology through project-based learning experiences in veterinary and animal sciences, engineering and environmental science. Ms Naomi Manu, Director of Puhoro Academy Programmes, will lead the project.

Project: Virtual Food Technology - How science underpins the backbone of the NZ economy - $25,800

This project aims to generate awareness and excitement for food processing technologies using augmented reality to allow students to construct a working virtual food production facility. Professor John Bronlund, of the School of Engineering and Advanced Technology, will lead the project.

Project: Flying high to ‘sea’ below - $28,588

The project will showcase how novel technologies can be used to efficiently monitor the natural marine environment in the far north of New Zealand. Dr Dan Godoy of the Institute of Natural and Mathematical Sciences will lead the project.

The science of biomechanics got the green light.

Project: Te Ra Whakanui I Ngā Pūrere -Koiora: New Zealand National Biomechanics Day -  $89,234

This money will go towards the second annual New Zealand National Biomechanics Day, which celebrates the science of biomechanics. It will allow more secondary students across New Zealand to attend the experiential learning day. Dr Sarah Shultz, of the School of Sport, Exercise and Nutrition, will lead the project.

The Unlocking Curious Minds contestable fund is an initiative under A Nation of Curious Minds – He Whenua Hiriri I Te Mahara – a National Strategic Plan for Science in Society, and is jointly run by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the Ministry of Education, and the Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor.

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