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Otago University and Te Papa sign MOU to strengthen collaborative efforts

Clocktower reflected in the Centre for Innovation

Wednesday 27 January 2016 2:34pm

Richard Blaikie image
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Richard Blaikie

Te Papa and the University of Otago have signed up to a collaborative relationship to strengthen joint efforts in research, scholarships, teaching and public lectures involving the national facility.

The MOU, signed this month between senior staff and academics at the University and The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, is designed to achieve better outcomes in education and research.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Richard Blaikie is delighted with the MOU, and is looking forward to a long and fruitful relationship – one that complements the existing strong ties that the University has with the Otago Museum and also the strong ties that Te Papa has with other research organisations.

“The MOU is significant for the opportunities it creates for engagement with Te Papa across a number of our academic divisions, but principally across the Humanities and in Science Communication, where both organisations share international strengths,” says Professor Blaikie.

It is envisaged the MOU will enable greater sharing of laboratory and scientific expertise and equipment; and more joint research and publications, funding bids, scholarships, postdoctoral fellows, shared use of consultancy expertise and use of space for public lectures and events. As postgraduate students are exposed to the national educational and research museum, students and staff would also benefit, with the potential for Te Papa staff to provide input in to selected UO courses.

Head of Research at Te Papa, Dame Claudia Orange, says she is pleased the MOU has gone ahead.

“We are delighted to formalise our partnership with Otago University, and connect with their expertise in both science and the humanities.

“As research institutions, universities and museums have so much in common, and we are able to combine our research strengths in areas where we have a common interest.”

In recognition of the strong relationship that the University also has with the Otago Museum, there is provision for a member of the Otago Museum to be co-opted on to the Te Papa-Otago Partnership Steering Group, which will be established to drive and oversee the MOU relationship.

The MOU builds on the existing relationships between Otago and Te Papa, which has more than one million visitors per year. Associate Professor David Bell (College of Education), for example, has had a good working relationship with Te Papa for the past 3-4 years, providing advice on art collections.

“Several of our academics across the Faculties have experience and expertise working in and interacting with Museums internationally. As an educational and research museum, Te Papa offers considerable collaborative opportunities for our researchers,” says Professor Blaikie.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor Humanities Professor Tony Ballantyne says the MOU provides an excellent opportunity for Otago’s Humanities Division in terms of potential research collaborations, joint events and lectures, and placements for postgraduate students, as well as career paths for our graduates. It also provides a key pathway to further building the Humanities presence nationally and in Wellington.

In addition, the University of Otago is currently in discussions with Te Papa on how to contribute to Te Papa’s newly established Innovation Hub, providing expertise and advice, especially in the Science Communication space.

For further information, contact:

Jo Galer
Senior Communications Adviser
University of Otago
Mob 021 279 8263

Kate Camp
Communications Manager
Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Tel 64 4 381 7083
Mob 64 29 601 0180

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