Four Marsden fund grants for AUT

03 Nov, 2021
Four Marsden fund grants for AUT

Four AUT research projects have been granted more than $2.8 million in the 2021 Marsden Fund round, with 11 AUT academics across all five faculties collaborating on the projects, and a further three involved with other research.

This year, Te Pūtea Rangahau a Marsden (the Marsden Fund) has allocated $82.345 million to 120 research projects led by researchers in Aotearoa New Zealand. These grants support excellent research in the humanities, science, social sciences, mātauranga, mathematics, and engineering for three years.

“It’s very exciting to see funding granted for four fresh AUT led research projects. AUT academics are leading the way with impactful research around Mātauranga Māori and all projects reflect a focus on our place in the world, the Pacific – congratulations to the lead researchers and the teams on their success,” says Kath McPherson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research.

Te Urupā tautaiao: Socially, culturally, and environmentally sustainable Māori burials

Professor Hinematau McNeill, Dr Robert Pouwhare (Te Ara Poutama) and Associate Professor Hannah Buckley (School of Science) will test a belief that that urupā tautaiao (natural burials) are affordable, culturally empowering for Māori, and environmentally sustainable.

Professor McNeill and her team are adopting a decolonising agenda in their exploration of death practices for their Marsden Fund Standard project.

By prioritising mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge), this project provides an opportunity for Māori to re-evaluate and reconnect with their ancient customs and practices.

Working alongside iwi, researchers will facilitate several hui, conduct environmental monitoring, archival research, and interviews to understand the potential of tangihanga (customary funerals) today and urupā taiao (natural burials) for living wellbeing in terms of Māori connection to, and responsibility for, the natural world.

The total funding is $838,000 over three years.

Artefacts of relations – building in the Pacific

AUT’s Associate Professor Albert Refiti, Professor Tina Engels-Schwarzpaul (School of Art and Design), Raoul Hoskins (Unitec Institute of Technology), Jean-Daniel Tokainiua Devatine (Center for Crafts of French Polynesia), Professor Lilikalā Kame'eleihiwa (University of Hawaii at Manoa) and Dr Billie Jane Lythberg (University of Auckland) will engage a comprehensive Moana-nui (Pacific Ocean region) perspective and to identify and analyse principal elements in Pacific buildings that contribute to Tangata Whenua (Māori) and Tangata Moana (Pacific diaspora) peoples’ wellbeing.

The research will investigate the persistence of Pacific iconic forms in contemporary architecture and the maintenance of relationships through reciprocal action, identification and long-term commitment to place.

The team will gather historical data and living testimony about the relationships of these buildings with their communities, how building experts (tufuga/tohunga) dealt with the reciprocal relationships between human habitat and the environment, and what architecture as citizenship in the 21st century, and in Aotearoa in particular, can learn from them regarding resilient community-building.

The total funding is $838,000 over three years.

Māori Flexible Learning Spaces (FLS) for supporting Mātauranga Māori and biculturalism in schools

Associate Professor Georgina Stewart, Associate Professor Leon Benade, Dr Alastair Wells (School of Education), Dr Valance Smith (Te Ara Poutama) and Associate Professor Amanda Yates (School of Future Environments) will explore how Flexible Learning Spaces (FLS) in kura Māori (schools with Māori identities) make a productive context for exploring how te reo and Mātauranga Māori can be better integrated into the lives of staff and students in schools and classrooms.

Combining concepts of FLS, school-based marae, and a ‘wide’ concept of curriculum, the team will explore a category of ‘Māori FLS’ as agents of teaching and learning within te ao Māori (Māori worldview) frameworks.

The total funding is $838,000 over three years.

He huarahi mo te wāhine Maori: Career sense-making among Māori women (Fast-Start grant)

Guided by a Mana wāhine methodology, Dr Nimbus Staniland (Business School) will investigate the identities, relationships, and meanings that Māori women and their teenage daughters hold significant in their careers, as well as the reciprocal role they play in shaping each other’s career experiences and aspirations.

Findings from this research will support the development of policy that supports and enables wāhine Māori in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Marsden Fund Fast-Start grants support early career researchers to develop independent research and build exceptional careers in Aotearoa.

The total funding is $360,000 over three years.

Gravitational Waves: Sources and Signals

Associate Professor Willem van Straten and Dr Patricio Maturana-Russel (School of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences) are also involved with a $3 million University of Auckland interdisciplinary project.

This project will make core contributions to gravitational wave science and facilitate participation by New Zealand scientists in the LISA mission, a space-based gravitational wave detector being developed by the European Space Agency (ESA).

This project looks at both the statistical challenges faced when attempting to extract the gravitational wave signals from the raw data and the properties of key sources of gravitational waves.

Keeping spatters at bay and in situ synthesis

Associate Professor Sarat Singamneni (School of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences) is also involved with a $916,000 University of Auckland project.

This project aims to develop a powder conditioning process to synthesise a printable feedstock containing two or more constituents.

This project focuses on dynamical interactions between the laser and the multiple constituents in the synthesised powder feedstock.

View Marsden Fund grants awarded in 2021

Find out more about the Marsden Fund