By Victoria Metcalf 20/05/2016


These are exciting times for public science engagement in New Zealand. Last week 44 projects were successful in receiving a total of $2 million in the 2016 funding round for Unlocking Curious Minds.

The Unlocking Curious Minds contestable fund in official language:

supports innovative projects that will excite and engage New Zealanders, particularly young people (aged 18 years and under), who have fewer opportunities to be involved with science and technology.

Effectively the fund is for outreach projects and in the main of the event-based variety. Unlocking Curious Minds encourages applicants to think about taking a fresh approach to how engagement or outreach occurs. It has a focus on those that have fewer opportunities to be involved with science and technology – children, young people, those on low incomes, people who live in remote areas, or some ethnic groups.

Unlocking Curious Minds aims to promote the relevance of science and technology to people’s lives and to support participants to engage in debate about issues involving science and technology that face us.

The Unlocking Curious Minds projects

The 44 projects that were funded are split into those that are local (where they could secure a maximum of $30,000) and those that are regional or national (where they could secure up to $150,000).

There are some really interesting and diverse projects amongst these. They include Lab-in-a-Box 2, a successful Unlocking Curious Minds funded project from 2015 now expanding the reach of where this was shipping container-now mobile lab travels to this year.

Other projects include: creating a visual and immersive climate science and Antarctic research portable exhibition, a project targeting Māori youth to engage with astronomy;  schools, community groups and scientists working together to locate and restore whitebait spawning areas in five regions throughout New Zealand; sustainable housing design for Year 10 students in Christchurch; and a project for low decile schools to make impressions of animal teeth and learn about oral health and fossils.

Over the coming weeks and months I’ll be profiling some of these 44 Unlocking Curious Minds projects as well as some of the Participatory Science Platform projects on this blog.

Using children's interest in fossils to learn more about their own teeth and oral health is one of the 44 funded Unlocking Curious Minds Projects. Image Credit: John Marsh Flickr CC.
Using children’s interest in fossils to learn more about their own teeth and oral health is one of the 44 funded Unlocking Curious Minds Projects. Image Credit: John Marsh Flickr CC.

 

Featured Image Credit: Stella McQueen – New Zealand Native Fish, CC BY 4.0


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