$2m for quake research
Christchurch Earthquake 2011
Almost $2 million will be funneled into earthquake research over three years across two New Zealand universities.
A record $59m in project funding was announced from the Marsden Fund today, handed out to the country's top 109 researchers after they were whittled down from a pool of 1157 proposals.
Canterbury University netted just over $5.5m to be divided across 11 grants, giving it 9.3 per cent of this year's available funding, compared to only 2.9 per cent last year.
This year's projects cover a wide range of topics, including a significant boost to earthquake research in both Christchurch and other centres to mitigate earthquake hazards in similar cities.
Victoria University researcher Associate Professor John Townend will receive $717,391 to examine the effects of deep seismic and aseismic deformation on Alpine Fault earthquakes.
Professor Tim Little, also from Victoria University, has been granted $739,130 to study low-angle normal faults and the dynamics of continental extension.
Canterbury University's Dr Brendon Bradley will further investigate the 2010 and 2011 Canterbury earthquakes with a $300,000 award for early-career researchers.
The funding will be staggered over a three-year period. Standard awards can net the recipient up to $850,000 for their project, while Fast-Start awards for those just starting out are worth $300,000.
Bradley's study will combine state-of-the-art techniques in seismology and geotechnical earthquake engineering to develop an understanding of the seismic ground motions in the quakes.
''The idea, fundamentally, is [to look at] why we got what we got in terms of the shaking and the liquefaction.... and why we saw the level of damage that we saw,'' he said.
His research would have a ''national and international impact in the assessment and mitigation of earthquake hazards in major cities''.
Bradley had been researching the quakes for some time, but said the funding would ''really make us able to reach our full potential''.
''It's one of the most competitive research funds, so it's recognition for our hard work.''
Bradley, who is a lecturer in civil and natural resources engineering, gave evidence in the royal commission of inquiry into the Canterbury Television building collapse, and was this year involved in testing Christchurch's soil using ''TRex'', the world's largest seismic vibration truck.
Another Canterbury University recipient, Associate Professor Megan McAuliffe, will look into hearing and speech issues with a $543,000 grant.
McAuliffe said the funding was ''very good news'' as it meant their programme could continue.
She would examine ''what differences in vocabulary, hearing and memory play in speech perception'', and ''how people can comprehend speech''.
Findings from the study could help with speech rehabilitation for people with hearing loss, and general understanding, she said.
Science and Innovation minister Steven Joyce said this year's record amount of funding was down to the Government's regular increases to the fund in it's five years of operation.
A further $20m was allocated to the fund over four years in this year's budget, Joyce said, and it is now more than 30 per cent larger than it was in 2008.
An extra 22 proposals were successful in receiving funding this year as a result of the increase.
Canterbury's funding recipients
- Victoria University of Wellington: ''Locked and loaded? Effects of deep seismic and aseismic deformation on Alpine Fault earthquakes'' - $717,391
- Victoria University of Wellington: ''Using the world's most rapidly slipping normal fault to understand the mechanics of low-angle normal faults and the dynamics of continental extension'' - $739,130
- University of Canterbury: ''A liquefiable bowl of jelly: Understanding the seismic response of a soft and saturated sedimentary basin in the Canterbury earthquakes'' - $300,000
- GNS Science: "Reconstructing complex ground motion effects in Christchurch during the Canterbury earthquakes: what does this mean for future ground motion prediction?" - $300,000
University of Canterbury recipients:
- ''The strategies by which miniature predators use highly structured working memory''- Prof Jackson - $826,087
- ''A friend of my friend is my friend - testing how habitat cascades increase ecosystem function and biodiversity'' - Dr Thomsen - $695,652
- "Understanding how listeners comprehend distorted speech'' - Assoc Prof McAuliffe - $543,478
- "Time Slows Down Whenever You're Around: The Evolutionary Psychology of Timing and Perceived Attractiveness'' - Dr Arantes - $300,000
- ''The Physics of Molecular Delivery by Electroporation of the Stratum Corneum: Local Transport Region Initiation and Evolution'' - Dr Becker - $300,000
- ''Imaging fibrous biomolecules with x-ray free-electron lasers'' - Prof Millane - $773,913
- ''Graphene supercapacitors: transforming energy storage solutions.'' - Prof Downard - $739,130
- ''A liquefiable bowl of jelly: Understanding the seismic response of a soft and saturated sedimentary basin in the Canterbury earthquakes'' - Dr Bradley - $300,000
- ''Recency effects in spoken New Zealand English'' - Dr Clark - $300,000
- ''Selling New China to New Zealand: Rewi Alley and the Art of Museum Diplomacy'' - Dr Bullen - $434,783
- ''Rational design of next-generation photovoltaics & molecular electronics'' - Dr Crittenden - $300,000
- © Fairfax NZ News
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