Call to double Marsden funding

Dr Khoon Lim. Photo: supplied
Dr Khoon Lim. Photo: supplied
A call has gone out to double the funding for one of New Zealand’s most sought-after research grant programmes.

Academics early in their careers often depend on Marsden grants and Tertiary Education Action Group Aotearoa is pushing for a boost to the programme to help offset economic uncertainty associated with Covid-19.

The grants help provide employment and professional development opportunities for postgraduate and early-career academics, through funding PhD scholarships, research assistant and post-doctoral positions, the group has argued.

They cover projects that are typically three years long and are operated by the Royal Society of New Zealand, which is funded by the Government.

Dr Khoon Lim is a senior research fellow at the University of Otago’s Christchurch campus.

He said the grants were particularly helpful for younger researchers.

"They help people to continue on in academia.

"The grants are fundamental to help us do better research."

Peer-reviewed studies indicated there would be no loss of quality if twice the number of grants were funded, the action group said.

Only about 10% of expressions of interest went on to win funding. About 45% of invited full proposals were awarded funding.

Doubling the fund this year would take it to $166 million.

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