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Cover artwork of He Kitenga 2022 - a view of a circular stair from above. Image links to the He Kitenga landing page

The driving force behind many major research discoveries and developments is a group of highly talented and dedicated researchers who are near the start of their careers. But who are these early career researchers and what do they do at the University of Otago?

In this edition of He Kitenga we take a peek through the window to show you some of Otago's diverse range of emerging talent. These are but a selection of Otago's many early career researchers who all contribute to enhancing the University's reputation for excellence in research. We have highlighted some of the individuals that capture the breadth of research strength here, from across the campuses and communities that we serve.

Some are near the beginning of their research journeys, while others are already internationally-recognised and multi-award-winning researchers. Captured here are the disparate pathways into research that early career researchers follow. While some are part of large collaborative research teams that together make significant inroads into a shared area of research, others have independently forged new avenues of research at Otago. Diversity in experiences and pathways is a strength as these researchers support and encourage each other in their research journeys. While their journeys and fields differ, our early career researchers do have some important traits in common: they all bring passion, drive, determination, idealism and a vital energy to the University; and they share a belief that we, as a University and a country, can do things better. In their own ways and in their own areas, each is working to make a difference.

This issue of He Kitenga is divided into sections highlighting the different ways in which the researchers are making their mark: Activists and Action; Novel Approaches; Mental Health; Curing Cancer; Te Ao Māori; and Improving the World. Many fit into more than one category, but for the sake of this book, they have been listed according to their clearest driving force.

Training and supporting the next generation of national and global research leaders is a core function of the University of Otago. There are many challenges facing early career researchers including the significant disruption to research that occurred throughout the global COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing uncertainty they face around future funding and job opportunities.

There is a clear need for early career researchers to be supported into stable careers, to be given opportunities to develop and grow in leading research, and to be resourced so that they can continue to contribute research of the highest quality for our communities in Aotearoa New Zealand, the Pacific and around the world. As a university we strive to provide the environment in which these needs can be met and are also grateful to our funders and partners, many of whom we acknowledge herein, for the support they provide. Through partnership we can support our emerging researchers to deliver the most impact from productive and rewarding careers.

These are our leaders and solution finders of the future. It will be exciting to see what they do next! We are extremely proud of our early career researchers and are delighted to showcase some of their stories with you. If any of their journeys or research expertise would be of help to you, or you would like to learn more, feel welcome to contact these individuals directly. They will be excited to hear from you.

Ngā mihi manaakitanga

Dr Rosie Brown
Convenor, Early Career Researchers Advancement Group

Professor Richard Blaikie
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise)

Our early career researchers' stories

Read about Otago's diverse range of emerging talent

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