Marsden success for AUT

03 Nov, 2023
Marsden success for AUT
Scott Duncan, Megan Phillips, Katherine Ravenswood, Amber Nicholson, Fiona Hurd, Dion Henare

AUT has had its most successful year ever in the prestigious Marsden Fund, with four research projects granted close to $2.5 million in funding in the 2023 round.

Two projects were successful in the Marsden Fund Fast-Start Grants, which recognise the work of up-and-coming researchers. An additional two projects were awarded funding in the Marsden Fund Standard Grant, which recognise the work of established researchers and their teams in addressing issues of both local and international importance.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Professor Mark Orams, said AUT’s success in this year’s round of Marsden funding is testament to the innovation and excellence of our researchers and research.

“The successful AUT academics across the University are leading the way with impactful and bold research that will have a significant and long-lasting impact in their fields,” says Mark.

“While we celebrate the incredible work of our academics, it is also important to acknowledge these successes are a team effort. Our accomplishments in these extremely competitive grant rounds is due not only to the quality of our researchers and their proposal – but also the amazing support they receive from their mentors, research support staff, draft reviewers and the many others who help them.

“On behalf of AUT, I would like to congratulate the researchers and their teams who have received Marsden funding for the incredible work that has gone into being recognised in this year’s round, as well as acknowledge the number of strong proposals that came very close.”

Revealing the hidden attentional biases embedded by previous experience

Dr Dion Henare (School of Clinical Sciences) joined AUT through the Eke Tangaroa programme and aims to measure, for the first time, the neural basis of how personal experience embeds attentional biases in the human brain.

This project will look beyond recent research that has established the importance of experience-based attention for shaping our behaviour over time, to get a better understanding of the neural mechanisms underlying this process. Additionally, it includes a plan to explore related concepts within mātauranga Māori.

By combining cutting-edge electroencephalogram (EEG) experiments and AI-based tools, this research has significant potential application for understanding disorders with attentional abnormalities like ADHD and schizophrenia, and for understanding the development of expertise.

Total funding is $360,000.

Effects of ambient sound on beverage choice and sales: A population level study

Dr Megan Phillips (Business School), who joined AUT through the Eke Tangaroa programme, will partner with Professor Dipayan Biswas (University of South Florida), Associate Professor Courtney Szocs (Pennsylvania State University), and Dr Eduardo Rech (Instituto Federal do Rio Grande do Sul), to investigate the little-known consequences of ambient sound (i.e., pitch, volume) on alcoholic beverage purchasing at retail outlets selling alcohol.

This project aims to get a crucial understanding of how ambient sound loudness influences beverage choice and sales in the context of prevalence of harmful drinking in New Zealand and the social and health inequities it creates.

The findings will benefit retailers, policymakers, and consumers by providing design recommendations for safer and more responsible retail operations, and inform the development of guidelines and regulations that promote responsible marketing practices.

Total funding is $360,000.

Developing and implementing an integrated system for assessing and improving behavioural time-use and experienced wellbeing

Professor Scott Duncan (School of Sport and Recreation) will undertake research to develop and implement the world’s first sensor-based measurement, analysis, and intervention system capable of integrating behavioural, environmental, and experiential characteristics of daily activities.

This project is in response to the current limitations in our ability to measure and promote optimal time-use patterns in regard to the co-dependence of all movement behaviours (e.g., physical activity, sedentary behaviour, sleep) and their impact on people's wellbeing.

When complete, this novel system will feature advanced time-use assessment tools and an interactive smartphone application, allowing for continuous ‘in-the-moment’ participant monitoring and delivery of personalised behaviour-change strategies for improving wellbeing.

Total funding is $870,000.

Networks of power: Gender, race and class in workplace violence

Professor Katherine Ravenswood (Business School), together with Associate Investigators, Dr Amber Nicholson (University of Auckland), Associate Professor Fiona Hurd (Business School) and Dr Tess Moeke-Maxwell (University of Auckland), will investigate the correlation between workplace violence and the systemic gender, race and class discrimination that is ingrained in society, employment and workplace policy.

With a current lack of understanding of how this occurs in Aotearoa, and internationally, this project will facilitate in-depth interviews, visual methods and Māori-led research to explore how racism, gender and class discrimination impact employees’ and managers’ experiences of workplace violence in Aotearoa.

Total funding is $870,000.

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