Over $2m to engage young kiwis in science

  • Hon Dr Megan Woods
Research, Science and Innovation

Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods today announced over $2 million of funding for 33 innovative science projects through the 2018 Unlocking Curious Minds contestable Fund.


“Unlocking Curious Minds supports innovative science projects that engage New Zealanders, particularly young people, with science and technology in their everyday lives.


“This fund is truly collaborative and community-led, with projects run by primary schools, tertiary education organisations, Crown Research Institutes, museums, and many others.


“Engaging our young people in science, and in particular those who have fewer opportunities to do so, is one of the best ways to ensure we have more New Zealanders choosing to enter STEM fields, and have a highly skilled, innovative workforce fit for the 21st century.


“The 33 projects are of the upmost quality and will increase engagement in science and technology within communities, in regions and at a national level,” says Megan Woods.

Some of the exciting new projects funded through this new round include:


  • Kaiwhanake Taupānga Māori - Māori Youth Game Development programme (Pam Fergusson Charitable Trust). A year-long program for rangatahi in Huntly and Ngaruawahia to design and develop Māori digital learning games, building skills in computer science and programming
  • A Breath of Fresh Air: Engaging Students with Air Quality Science (Massey University). Students in Northland and South Auckland will learn about the air they breathe inside their classrooms and homes, and ways to improve air quality.
  • Magma drillers save planet Earth (University of Canterbury). This project will inspire school students to study science and engineering by drilling into a volcano using a 3D interactive holographic game.
  • Experiencing Marine Reserves: Te Kura Moana. Mātauranga Māori informing Kaitiakitanga of the future (Mountains to Sea Wellington Trust).  Creating marine learning environments through Māori knowledge to inform kaitiakitanga (stewardship) of our oceans.

The Unlocking Curious Minds contestable fund is an initiative under A Nation of Curious Minds – He Whenua Hiriri I Te Mahara – a National Strategic Plan for Science in Society, and is jointly run by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the Ministry of Education, and the Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor.


A full list of the 33 successful Unlocking Curious Minds projects can be found here.