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Division of Sciences News

Why Fish?

Wednesday, 29 November 2017 2:50pm

Freshwater scientist and Catchment Otago Co-director, Professor Gerry Closs is ranked in the top 50 researchers worldwide for the number of citations produced in his field. During his expansive career, he has supervised over 40 PhD candidates and close to 90 student projects. Read more about Professor Closs' IPL.

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Sneaky males adopt ‘female-like’ brains to fool big brutes

Wednesday, 29 November 2017 2:13pm

In the ever-competitive mating scene, new University of Otago research has revealed how males of some species revert to deception and disguise in order to lure females.

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Flourishing in an interconnected world: Hands-on science for Māori youth

Tuesday, 28 November 2017 2:06pm

The 3rd Science Wānanga recently hosted at Ōtākou Marae in Dunedin had an overarching theme that all components of the world we live in are interconnected and must remain healthy in order for us all to flourish.

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Giving cash without strings attached can improve health

Thursday, 23 November 2017 12:05pm

New research has shown governments can help improve health in low and middle income countries, simply by providing cash to people living in poverty.

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Marsden success for Sciences

Monday, 20 November 2017 10:50am

Division of Sciences researchers have gained over $7.2m for 12 world-class research projects as Principal Investigators and a further $6m as Assistant Investigators working in collaboration with researchers both across Otago and in external organisations.

2017 heralds Otago as the most successful university in terms of the number of awards and total funding awarded at just short of $24m, the highest amount ever secured by Otago.

The funding secured by Principal Investigators in Sciences includes eight standard projects and four ‘Fast-Start’ projects designed to support outstanding researchers early in their careers.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Richard Barker says that he is “delighted at the success of researchers in the Division in gaining funding from the extremely competitive Marsden Fund. The strength of fundamental research in the Sciences at Otago combined with highly innovative approaches to solving complex problems underpins our success. The breadth of Departments represented in this funding is an aspect of this success that is also highly pleasing”.

2017 heralds Otago as the most successful university in terms of the number of awards and total funding awarded at just short of $24m, the highest amount ever secured by Otago.

The funding secured by Principal Investigators in Sciences includes eight standard projects and four ‘Fast-Start’ projects designed to support outstanding researchers early in their careers.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Richard Barker says that he is “delighted at the success of researchers in the Division in gaining funding from the extremely competitive Marsden Fund. The strength of fundamental research in the Sciences at Otago combined with highly innovative approaches to solving complex problems underpins our success. The breadth of Departments represented in this funding is an aspect of this success that is also highly pleasing”.

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Elimination of mosquito-borne diseases in the Pacific possible with collaboration

Thursday, 16 November 2017 5:00pm

The importance of working together to prevent mosquito-borne diseases will be highlighted during an upcoming University of Otago-organised event.

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New spectrometer puts Otago ahead

Monday, 6 November 2017 9:11pm

A new spectrometer, recently purchased by the University’s Department of Chemistry, is allowing Otago researchers to work at the cutting edge of their field.

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Seven-year-old donates savings to Otago cancer research

Friday, 27 October 2017 2:07pm

A seven-year-old girl from the United States has generously donated some of the money she made running a summer cat sitting business to an Otago cancer research group.

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Solar storms and Auckland’s damaged fuel pipeline


Tuesday, 24 October 2017 11:17am

Physicists at the University of Otago and Victoria University of Wellington suggest geomagnetic storms can cause corrosion in New Zealand’s pipelines, and some areas, including Northland, are more vulnerable.

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Halving the University of Otago’s greenhouse gas emissions

Wednesday, 18 October 2017 11:12am

The University of Otago is living its commitment to being a good global citizen by sparking a change that will halve the greenhouse gas emissions created by its energy use, while simultaneously reducing its total carbon footprint by a third.

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2017 Otago Global Health Institute Conference

Tuesday, 17 October 2017 10:58am

2017 Otago Global Health Institute Conference is being held in Dunedin, New Zealand 15-16 November at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. The conference includes the McAuley Oration, an open lecture, and will run back -to-back with the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases NZ Annual Meeting.

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Climate change and extreme weather driving migration

Wednesday, 11 October 2017 1:46pm

For the first time, a University of Otago researcher has shown that not only are the effects of climate change influencing people’s decision to migrate, it is actually a more important driver than income and political freedom at the origin country.

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Otago researchers’ achievements recognised at 2017 NZ Research Honours Dinner

Wednesday, 11 October 2017 12:31pm

The outstanding achievements of three University of Otago researchers were recognised through the bestowing of prestigious national awards at the 2017 New Zealand Research Honours Dinner earlier this week. The trio were among New Zealand researchers to be presented with 21 medals in total at the Royal Society Te Apārangi-hosted event in Auckland.

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Summer Scholarships available

Monday, 25 September 2017 2:29pm

If you are planning on returning to Otago University next year and would like to carry out an interesting research project over the summer break one of our summer scholarships might appeal to you. Both will be based at our Centre and would run for the standard 10-week period.

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PhD Scholarship available - QuakeCoRE project

Saturday, 23 September 2017 11:27am

The Centre is calling for applications for a 3 year doctoral scholarship commencing early 2018.
It will contribute to the QuakeCoRE programme (Flagship 3 – Addressing earthquake-vulnerable buildings – a multi-disciplinary approach). This three-year project will focus on learning lessons from both domestic and international cordoning experiences to inform the planning and implementation of cordons in urban New Zealand.
Applications for the scholarship close January 20th 2018. More information and full application details available

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$1 million MBIE "Smart Idea" grant to advance augmented reality

Friday, 22 September 2017 3:45pm

A $1 million MBIE Endeavour "Smart Ideas" grant has been awarded to Department of Computer Science’s Dr Stefanie Zollmann and her team from Computer Science, Information Science and Physical Education for their research titled “Situated visualisation to enrich sports experience for on-site spectators”.

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2018 Zonta Science Award

Thursday, 21 September 2017 3:04pm

The Zonta Club of Wellington is calling for applications for the 2018 Zonta Science Award. Applications must be received by 5 February 2018.

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Dunedin whizz kid wins iconic maths comp

Wednesday, 20 September 2017 4:16pm

About 6,500 Year 9 to 11 pupils from around 150 schools throughout New Zealand took part in the 2017 University of Otago Junior Maths Competition now into its 32nd year, attempting to answer up to five questions, requiring them to apply their mathematical skills to unknown situations. The winner of the Year 9 section was Tobias Devereux from Kavanagh College in Dunedin.

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2017 International Young Scientist Award for Physics

Monday, 18 September 2017 1:04pm

Physics PhD candidate Emma Douma is the recipient of one-of-three prestigious International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy (IAGA) Young Scientist Awards for 2017.

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Centre director joins Science Leadership Team for Sustainable Seas

Monday, 18 September 2017 10:22am

Centre for Sustainability Director Janet Stephenson will be joining the Science Leadership Team (SLT) for the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge.

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Kiwi Apathy Towards Cholesterol Concerning

Friday, 15 September 2017 11:42am

A new study which found Kiwis do not consider the potential impact of their food choices on their cholesterol levels is worrying according to a leading academic expert.

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Election cycle not helping transport sustainability

Thursday, 14 September 2017 2:32pm

Keeping New Zealanders on the move in an increasingly sustainable way is being hamstrung by our three-year election cycle and policy U-turns.

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RoboCup Nationals in town this weekend

Thursday, 14 September 2017 11:24am

Regional competitions of Robocup Junior New Zealand were held up and down the country between July and September this year, with the nationals taking place in Dunedin on Saturday. Robocup is a unique event that excites and motivates school students, and allows them to choose between Robot Theatre, Rescue or Soccer. Any brand of robot may be used, provided they can be programmed and are not remote controlled. Students are also encouraged to build their own robots. Now played in over 30 countries around the world it is a regular feature of the annual university run RoboCup World Finals, where it is the largest league. Come along and see what all the fuss is about!

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Concerns about language skills of young New Zealanders

Tuesday, 12 September 2017 11:48am

A new study published in the Journal of Child Language has taken a selfie of the language skills of more than 6000 New Zealand two-year-olds and found some concerning gaps.

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Challenging the mental health struggle

Tuesday, 12 September 2017 10:10am

The inaugural Silverline Festival, being held next weekend on 15-16 September, is all about exposing students to ways of wellbeing. The festival will include speakers, all passionate about what they do, and excited to share their knowledge and experiences; one of these being Dr Damian Scarf, Senior Lecturer in Psychology who suffered from severe anxiety throughout undergraduate and into postgraduate study.

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New Genetics Otago Director excited by challenge

Thursday, 7 September 2017 9:19pm

The new Director of Genetics Otago, Associate Professor Julia Horsfield, is thrilled to be taking the helm of the University of Otago Research Centre during an exciting new era in genetics.

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Science I takes shape

Thursday, 7 September 2017 4:19pm

Work is progressing on the final phase of the $56m refurbishment of the University of Otago’s Science I building – the most visible sign is a new pop-out extension from the first and second floors to house offices.

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Success for Otago rowers in China

Friday, 1 September 2017 1:50pm

The University of Otago’s Senior Women’s and Senior Men’s Eights rowing teams have won big in China in the 2017 International Universities Rowing Regatta.

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One-day symposium to honour Otago statistician

Thursday, 31 August 2017 10:13pm

Associate Professor John Harraway’s contributions to statistics in New Zealand and around the world will be celebrated tomorrow, with a one-day symposium organised in his honour.

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Public seminar on influential swimming research

Wednesday, 30 August 2017 9:32pm

New Zealand is set to overhaul the way it teaches swimming to children – with a greater focus on water survival skills – thanks in part to research by Otago’s Associate Professor Chris Button.

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Chasing atoms, electrons and optics there and back again

Saturday, 19 August 2017 11:01am

Growing up in Dunedin, Professor Blaikie's academic career began at Otago in the late 1980s, leading to a doctorate from the University of Cambridge, and then onto an incredible position as a visiting researcher at the Hitachi Cambridge Laboratory. Deciding it was time to come home, he and his family moved back to New Zealand - firstly to Canterbury and finally back to Otago.

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Orokonui tuatara alive and well after July’s downpours

Friday, 18 August 2017 12:46pm

University of Otago researchers have confirmed that tuatara are alive and well at Orokonui Ecosanctuary following the torrential rain and flooding last month.

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Oamaru heritage tourism project

Wednesday, 16 August 2017 3:04pm

The Oamaru Heritage Precinct Project, being carried out by Centre for Sustainability acting director Dr Caroline Orchiston and research assistant Will Stovall, made news in the Oamaru Mail last week

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And the winner is... and the winner is

Wednesday, 16 August 2017 3:06pm

Hearing her name announced as winner of the Division of Sciences Supervisor of the Year award was gratifying enough, but then when Dr Tamlin Conner, a senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology heard it called again, this time for the ‘OUSA Supervisor of the Year’ award, she was stunned.

“Receiving these two awards mean the world to me,” said Dr Tamlin Conner. “I invest an incredible amount of time and effort into my students, and to receive this recognition gives me the motivation to keep up that investment,” she continued.

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Flagship Research Centres Launched

Wednesday, 16 August 2017 2:39pm

The University formally launched its reconfigured line-up of 12 flagship research centres recently at the Otago Museum. The Centre for Sustainability was represented by Deputy Director, Dr Caroline Orchiston who presented a short overview of the centre's research alongside the other 11 flagship centres.

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World watching how NZ handles its envied renewable power

Friday, 11 August 2017 12:00pm

New Zealand’s high levels of renewable electricity may be the envy of the world but some thorny issues still need addressing.

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Sciences top communicators in Research Poster Competition

Thursday, 3 August 2017 11:27am

Sciences were the big winners of the 2017 Research Poster Competition

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New aurora alert website launched

Wednesday, 2 August 2017 11:19am

A new aurora alert website that will help stargazers in Dunedin and the lower South Island predict when they will see an aurora was launched by Otago researchers during a gathering at Otago Museum last night.

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Otago finding new ways to beat an old and enduring enemy - TB

Monday, 31 July 2017 4:26pm

An innovative approach in drug discovery in combating one of the world’s greatest health scourges – tuberculosis (TB) – is being pioneered by an international research group that has Otago microbiologists as key leading members.

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New research vessel launched by Marine Science

Monday, 24 July 2017 1:48pm

The Department of Marine Science has launched its new research vessel, Tūhura. The name Tūhura means “to investigate or discover” – very appropriate for the 6.5 metre Osprey which will be used to support field collections, water sampling and diving.