The University of Canterbury (UC) has made an impressive mark in the latest funding round announced by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) Endeavour Fund. The university’s Smart Ideas research projects have bagged around $1 million each, while three of its Research Programs clinched a combined $24.9 million.
These initiatives are part of UC’s ongoing efforts to foster innovative solutions that address future challenges in Aotearoa, New Zealand, particularly aerospace, horticulture, and biocontrols for safeguarding primary industries.
A National Achievement
This year, New Zealand witnessed the success of 19 Research programs in the Endeavour Fund. UC stood out, clinching funding for three programs – the highest number for any institution in this round.
The awarded Smart Ideas projects at UC range from the development of organic batteries aligned with the nation’s renewable energy objectives to leveraging artificial intelligence for enhanced imaging, to a novel drug testing mechanism that promises to save lives, and research into how microbes can be instrumental in reducing methane emissions in dairy farms.
These successes underscore UC’s dedication to quality research and its potential to influence national and international spheres significantly.
Delving into UC’s Funded Research Programs
- Biological Research in Microgravity: Dr. Sarah Kessans from UC’s School of Product Design has been granted $9.87 million for a 5-year project. Collaborating with Axiom Space, the initiative seeks to optimize protein crystallization in space, catering to the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors.
- Precision Biocontrol for Primary Industries: With $8.94 million in funding, Dr. Heather Hendrickson from UC’s School of Biological Sciences is heading a research project to craft safe biocontrols against bacterial pathogens. The initial focus will be on the kiwifruit and apiculture sectors, with plans to extend the research to the cherry and salmon industries.
- Yield Estimation in Horticulture: Professor Richard Green from UC’s Computer Science and Software Engineering department has secured $6.10 million for devising a new grape yield prediction method, marrying imaging with a growth prediction model.
UC’s Smart Ideas Projects in Focus
- Methane Biofiltration for Dairy Farming: Professor Peter Gostomski’s study intends to leverage methane-consuming microbes to transition methane into carbon-neutral CO2.
- AI-powered Fourier Transformation: Dr. Sylwia Kolenderska’s project aims to elevate the quality of optical coherence tomography in ophthalmology.
- Forensic Drug Testing Using NMR: Professor Daniel Holland’s team is refining nuclear magnetic resonance to detect and quantify illicit drugs.
- Organic Batteries for a Sustainable Future: Associate Professor Deborah Crittenden spearheads research to invent organic batteries as eco-friendly alternatives to conventional batteries.
UC’s achievements in this funding cycle are a testament to the university’s commitment to leading-edge research, driving progress both in Aotearoa, New Zealand, and on the global stage.
Image provided by The University of Canterbury