Govt targets three years of innovation as Joyce appoints Marsden Fund researchers

“I welcome the contribution these top researchers can make to New Zealand’s science and innovation system."

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce has appointed three new members to the Marsden Fund Council.

Professor Gillian Dobbie, Professor David Bilkey and Professor Roger Nokes will join the Council for three years from 1 March.

“All three appointees are highly regarded researchers, both domestically and internationally," Joyce says.

"Their roles on the Marsden Fund Council will involve assessing and recommending funding for research proposals each year, providing strategic direction, and ensuring the relevance and importance of Marsden-funded research is clearly understood."

Gillian Dobbie, of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Auckland, is a researcher in data management, database systems and software engineering.

Professor Dobbie will convene the Mathematical and Information Sciences panel.

David Bilkey is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Otago - his general research area is systems neuroscience, with a particular focus on the role of the temporal cortex regions of the brain in memory and learning processes.

Professor Bilkey will convene the Economics and Human and Behavioural Sciences panel.

Roger Nokes, from the University of Canterbury, is a Professor of Environmental Fluid Mechanics in the Department of Civil and Natural Resources Engineering - his fields of research include tsunami generation, jets and plumes, gravity currents, and mixing in stratified flows. Professor Nokes will convene the Engineering and Interdisciplinary Sciences panel.

Joyce has also reappointed Professor Juliet Gerrard as Chair of the Marsden Fund Council, Dr Ian Ferguson as Convenor of the Cellular, Molecular and Physiological Biology panel, and Professor Robert Hannah as Convenor of the Humanities panel.

The reappointments are for three-year terms from 1 March.

“I welcome the contribution these top researchers can make to New Zealand’s science and innovation system,” Joyce adds.

“The Marsden Fund supports excellent investigator-initiated research and has been instrumental in building advanced research skills, as well as attracting and retaining top research talent.

"This is essential for a high-performing science and innovation system.”

The Marsden Fund is administered by the Royal Society of New Zealand on behalf of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, overseen by a Marsden Fund Council appointed by the Minister.

The Marsden Fund Council comprises 11 eminent researchers – a Chair, and 10 other members. Each member leads a panel in their academic field, with proposals assessed by the 10 specialist panels covering the range of research disciplines.

Last year marked the 20th anniversary of the Fund with $56m invested in 101 new projects.

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