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Research funding

A key objective for OERC is to foster new energy-related interdisciplinary research projects and strengths at the University of Otago. We, therefore, offer researchers support to perform the initial research needed to apply for larger grants, support for interdisciplinary projects and events, and help with travel costs.

OERC funding opportunities

Travel funding

Travel funding is to support conference presentations and/or building relationships with stakeholders. Priority will be given to Students and Postgraduates. Applications accepted at any time.

Download the application form

Seed Grant recipients

OERC has had numerous past successes in seeding or providing support for research projects, examples include:

  • Virginia Toy (Department of Geology) “Developing a geothermal resource at the DFDP-2 drillsite, Whataroa, South Westland.”
  • Sam Lowrey & Zhifa Sun (Department of Physics) “Gearing and Optimisation of a Heat Pump Assisted Clothes Dryer
  • Ivan Diaz-Rainey (Department of Accounting and Finance) “The Effect of Imported Carbon Allowances on New Zealand’s Emission Trading Scheme
  • Keith Gordon (Department of Chemistry), Joint co-PI MacDiarmid CoRE, (2014–2020), (~$8M per annum (funder TEC) across seven centres). OERC directly helped this effort by the funding summer students who developed the computational methods used to design better materials.
  • Ross Vennell (Department of Marine Sciences), PI. “A scaling law for a renewable energy resource: is gigawatt output from tidal turbine farms realistic?” (2013-16), Marsden Grant ($940,000). OERC provided a forum for researchers on this project to develop their work and this has led to a follow-on interdisciplinary project exploring the economics of tidal energy
  • Janet Stephenson (Centre for Sustainability) & Rob Lawson (Department of Marketing), co-PI’s. “Energy Cultures” 1 (2009–2012) and 2 (2012–2016), MBIE funded ($3,200,000). The first of these projects was initiated by an OERC seed grant that allowed the PI’s to do some exploratory work and win an Otago Research Grant that established the basis for a programme with seven years of external research funding.
  • Mingming Cheng (Tourism) "Assessing carbon footprints of Airbnb"
  • Sandra Mandic (Phys Ed,Sport & Exercise) "Adolescents’ Perceptions of the Built Environment and Walkability of School Neighbourhoods in Rural Otago "
  • Dr Alan Hayman (Chemistry) "Grounds for sustainability: Energy from spent coffee grounds"
  • Dr Sam Lowrey (Physics) "Advanced Heat Pump Clothes Drying using Superhydrophobic Surfaces for Enhanced Efficiency"

Sub-Theme Grant recipients

  • Dr Sandra Mandic was provided sub-theme funding in 2016 to assist with the organization of an International Symposium on “Active Living and Environment: Towards a Healthier and More Sustainable Future” (28-30 August 2017).
  • Sally Booker (Chemistry) "Solar fuels production: student focussed workshop"
  • Professor Julian Eaton-Rye (Biochemistry) "Third New Zealand Symposium on Algae and Photosynthetic Prokaryotes Feb 2018"

See news and events for our most recent awards