Victoria Metcalf

Dr Victoria Metcalf is a marine biologist and former Lecturer in Genetics at Lincoln University. She is currently the National Coordinator of the Participatory Science Platform, Office of the Prime Minister's Chief Science Advisor. Victoria is mad keen on researching fish and shellfish. She has a PhD in biochemistry and has always been drawn to non-mammalian species because she finds them so incredibly interesting. She has a particular love of cold places and most of her research is on Antarctic marine life although she has studied New Zealand marine species too. Victoria is on Twitter @VicMetcalf_NZ

Kids Greening Taupō: A Step Towards Transformation - Curious and Curiouser

Mar 02, 2016

In this guest post by Thea DePetris, a Masters student at the University of Waikato, she outlines why the world’s wicked problems demand a transformation of our teaching systems and showcases one example, the Kids Greening Taupō community restoration education programme. The issues of the modern world aren’t getting any simpler as ‘wicked’ problems pervade our societal structure and environment. In response, educational scholars have made a compelling case for transformation of our education system towards a 21st century approach; an approach to better prepare young people to become active and capable citizens in our increasingly complex world. Although this is all positive theoretical stuff, the practical side of reshaping teaching and learning practice is fraught with difficulty, resulting from an array of system-wide constraints and barriers. For someone as impatient as myself, one great leap to transformation would definitely appease, but the … Read More

New Zealand women in STEM – talented and diverse - Curious and Curiouser

Feb 19, 2016

We have a plethora of talented women in diverse STEM-related careers within New Zealand. Profiling some of these incredible women on the web is one aspect of the Curious Minds initiative. Supporting those women who enter into a science, technology, engineering and mathematics or STEM career is just as important as using those same women as positive role models for young people to engage them with STEM. We think we’re striking a balance that helps to achieve both through our Series of Profiles on girls and women in (and involved with) science and technology and located on the Curious Minds website. The Curious Minds women in STEM profiles At least one new profile is published each week and yes I feature¹. But that’s not why I’m sharing this information. The profiles include some really inspirational women, all involved … Read More

Women in science – yesterday, today and tomorrow - Ice Doctor

Feb 14, 2016

February 11th marked the first ever International Day of Women and Girls in Science, as declared by the UN. These are my reflections on women in science drafted the day after this inaugural event. Yesterday Yesterday I spent time in the morning reading about some of the latest sexual harassment cases for women in science. It’s disturbing just how prevalent sexual misconduct is in the sciences; in the field, in the hallowed halls of academia and within research institutions. Misconduct affects those in the earliest stages in their career through to very experienced researchers. Every day, it seems a case of “But wait, there’s more” in what is rapidly being unveiled as a long-standing, pervasive epidemic. Yesterday I reflected on just how far we women in science still have to go to achieve equality, to receive the … Read More

A learning system for science engagement: Part 1 - Curious and Curiouser

Feb 05, 2016

Science engagement is currently a hot socio-political issue with extensive Government investment and interest. But it is not a new issue, and there is a lot that has been done in the past that we should be learning from and building on. A guest post by Dr Cathy Buntting, Senior Research Fellow, University Waikato. This is an educator’s perspective on the science engagement workshop. Part 2 will be a scientist’s perspective. On 15 December 2015, the University of Waikato hosted a symposium in Wellington. Invited speaker Professor Jonathan Osborne from Stanford University was asked to help delegates think about science education, communication and engagement from a systems perspective. The symposium was attended by representatives from MBIE; Ministry of Education; DoC; Victoria, Massey and Waikato Universities; New Zealand Council for Educational Research; RSNZ; and Lift Education (publishers of the Ministry of Education’s Connected series … Read More

Blogging – what is it good for? - Ice Doctor

Nov 22, 2015

Let’s hope the answer to that is not “absolutely nothing”. Who reads science blogs?  Who reads my blog posts? Well obviously you might, if you’re presumably reading this right now. Feel free to pull up a pew- it’s a short story today. (You only have hours left, if that, to complete the survey on who reads science blogs and in this case, my blog. Survey link here: Blogging is one of those activities perceived as reaching that ethereal entity- the public. But what constitutes the public in this case– is it really a representative sector of society? And which society? Are we talking global reach? National reach? Or something smaller?  Or an alternative reality society made up only of those who access social media? There’s talk of blogging being a way to directly reach ‘the public’ and communicate science, in a world … Read More

Bringing science and tech to the people - Curious and Curiouser

Nov 06, 2015

If you were in Christchurch anytime over the last few weeks you would have probably noticed posters advertising the Big Science Day. This event, run by Science Alive and with funding from the Unlocking Curious Minds fund, an initiative within the government-led “A Nation of Curious Minds” programme, took place on a stunningly fine day, Saturday 31st October, in Cathedral Square. The Nation of Curious Minds initiatives are coordinated by MBIE, the Ministry of Education and the Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor. Bringing life back into the central city, more than 20,000 people of all ages attended the event. The place was heaving. And there was a lot to see. For the Big Science Day aimed to showcase local innovation and highlight possible science and technology career paths within the Canterbury region. Read More

Getting Curious and Curiouser - Curious and Curiouser

Nov 06, 2015

The power of curiosity One of my beliefs is that everyone has curiosity programmed into them. Sometimes as people progress from childhood wonder into adulthood that curiousness becomes dulled, covered in layers, just like the clouds I am viewing from my plane window at the precise moment I write this. A moment spent looking and thinking might lead to consideration of what lies underneath or even what that layer is all about. Why are there ridges in the clouds? What causes them? Is it the same underneath the surface of the cloud in terms of ridges and if not, why not? Why are there different types of clouds? If all the clouds parted, where would we be? Would we see land or sea? How does the plane even get up here in the sky? … Read More

Meet the new must-have pet - Ice Doctor

Oct 20, 2015

*Please see end of post for details of an incentivised research survey on science blogs we’d love you to participate in. I have a crazily adorable house bunny called Acorn, who is about to become a celeb-bunny on another Sciblogs site. Acorn is exponentially more lovely than our previous rabbit, Daisy, who came to us second-hand and possibly treated sub-optimally. As my other half describes Acorn, “at least this rabbit is vegetarian”. It’s true- Daisy had a penchant for human flesh, particularly his, without provocation. Acorn and my other half are on more amicable, although I won’t say loving terms- when asked he will obediently go into his hutch. He definitely has a strong preference, however, for the women of the household. He’s very tolerant of Miss5’s exuberant loving and really likes being patted, especially on his forehead. The cat of … Read More

Death by outline - Ice Doctor

Jul 03, 2015

Source: Wikimedia Commons, uploaded by le L.E. When you watch the news do the presenters first grab your attention by saying: “First we’re going to show you the top headlines in priority order. Then we’ll show you a trivial item or two, followed by the sports section, then the weather, before we wrap it up with a quick recap of the main headlines. Right now that I’ve gone over that and you know the format, let’s get started with the news”? If news presenters did do that, everyone would be screaming at the TV “ENOUGH ALREADY!” In fact, if that happened with any visual or many written formats, then the yawns would cut in almost immediately; people would likely vote with their remotes or their fingers- closing print media, or simply ignoring the pointless … Read More

Making the impenetrable penetrable- science articles as videos - Ice Doctor

Jun 19, 2015

  I love writing, especially blog posts, as they’re my chance to be creative – to have a voice. I invest a lot of me in everything I write, but if you’ve read any of my previous posts you’ll be well aware of that already. I started blogging because I felt oppressed and without a creative outlet; yet I felt I had a lot of useful things to say. More than that, I needed to say these things in order to make a positive contribution to the world. That’s why I think I engaged in a science career too –  the need to do something novel and to engage in research that might actually make a difference. Whilst though I have always been fired up by discovering ‘the new’ and contributing to knowledge, scientific articles, while sometimes containing interesting … Read More