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$2 million funding for young New Zealanders to engage with science and mathematics

$2 million funding for young New Zealanders to engage with science and mathematics

New Zealand’s Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith announced yesterday $2 million of funding for 41 projects from the 2017 Unlocking Curious Minds contestable fund.

The Unlocking Curious Minds fund particularly focuses on projects that engage young New Zealanders who have fewer opportunities to be involved with science and technology.

“It’s about giving young Kiwis more choices. Taking part in science and technology keeps more career options open to young people,” says Mr. Goldsmith.

Funded projects will be led by a wide variety of organisations including primary schools, tertiary education organisations, Crown Research Institutes, museums, trusts, and companies.

Successful projects include topics such as:

  • Introducing the concept of how organisms react to stimuli through a National Biomechanics Day across New Zealand.  Engaging 1,100 students from lower-decile schools, the day will involve a series of live (and live-video streaming of) demonstrations of biomechanics technology involving students and athletes.
  • Demonstrating the value of DNA through engaging Maori, Pasifika and new New Zealanders aged 12-18 by video-recording the migration stories of the students, and using the results of DNA sampling of teachers to demonstrate our shared genetic heritage.
  • Raising interest in mathematics through a Maths Crafts Festival in several urban and regional centres that will introduce people to mathematical concepts by demonstrating the way these concepts are integrated into craft activities.
  • Creating nature rich environments and inspiring rangitahi aged 8-15 years from Wainuiomata by allowing them to participate in the release of titipounamu (rifleman) at Zealandia, make real time scientific observations of the birds, and provide an introduction into the scientific concepts involved in bird translocation.
  • The application of technology through introducing students in the Buller, Grey and Hurunui districts to seaborne remotely operated vehicles and the programming, sensor applications, camera wiring and electronics that are involved.
  • Exploring New Zealand’s geology and connecting to technology through a programme targeted at students aged 4-16 from lower-decile schools in Dunedin with experts to identify and understand geological hazards, learn about the role of sensors in monitoring, and build, install and connect their own sensors to existing ‘internet of things’ networks.

The Fund was developed under the A Nation of Curious Minds – He Whenua Hihiri I te Mahara – a National Strategic Plan for Science in Society. Curious Minds is a cross-agency programme of work led by MBIE, the Ministry of Education and the Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor.

The Fund offered two types of grants in the 2017 round: up to $30,000 for local or community projects, and up to $150,000 for regional or national projects.

For more information about the Unlocking Curious Minds contestable fund and other projects supported under Curious Minds, visit here

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