Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce has announced nearly $1 million of new funding to 25 additional projects around the country to engage more young Kiwis with science and technology under the Unlocking Curious Minds contestable fund pilot.
“There was very high demand for the pilot programme, and I am pleased to be able to announce this additional funding for a second tranche of innovative projects to engage the public with science and technology,” Joyce says.
“We’ve provided funding to the next highest ranked applications that were not able to be funded with the initial $1 million available in 2014/15.
“We want to support as many of these innovative science and technology-based projects as possible.
“This means 25 new projects will be carried out in communities around New Zealand. Topics include creating communities of young engineers in the Waikato, filming the geology of our National Parks, and discovering new species of fungi.”
The newly-funded projects include students at Koraunui Primary School investigating the science and engineering of structures that can be built by the children in the new development of a community garden in the school grounds.
In this example, the project will involve local engineers, Hutt City Council personnel and local tradespeople.
Furthermore, as part of the Greening Taupo initiative, Taupo Primary School is engaging Year 3 and 4 children with the environment through native land restoration around Taupo.
Practical activities will involve all the processes needed to get from seed to tree, including biosourcing and composting.
“A further Unlocking Curious Minds funding round calling for new applications will to be announced soon,” Joyce adds.
The Unlocking Curious Minds programme is part of the Government’s strategic plan to encourage all New Zealanders to get engaged with science and technology.
For Joyce, it ties in with the innovation and skills stream of the Business Growth Agenda, and the National Statement of Science Investment.
The fund pilot offered two levels of grants: up to $20,000 for local projects, and up to $150,000 for regional or national projects.