A Measure of Science

Valuing Science in New Zealand

Shaun Hendy Mar 20, 2013

On April 3rd, the New Zealand Association of Scientists is holding its annual conference to ask “What is the value of science in NZ?” (you can register here). As the conference chair, Dr Nicola Gaston, puts it: When scientists are asked to describe scientific research that isn’t done for short-term economic benefit, they call it blue-skies … Read More

An unfortunate experiment in peer review

Shaun Hendy Mar 10, 2013

A few months ago, Sir Peter Gluckman made the observation in a discussion paper (“Which science to fund: is it time to review peer review?”) that While scientists pride themselves on objectivity, there is surprisingly little in the way of objective assessment of the nature and quality of peer review processes for grant allocation. Ironically, under-resourcing at the … Read More

Marsden 2012: Success rate continues to fall

Shaun Hendy Oct 25, 2012

This year’s Marsden Fund results were announced this morning.  The full list of successful proposals is available on the Royal Society of New Zealand website, or, if you prefer, you can get a sampling of what the media made of the lucky winners via the Dom Post and the Herald.  This year the success rate has dropped  … Read More


Shaun Hendy Jun 01, 2012

Next week on June 7-8, we will be running an on-line game called Pounamu using the Institute for the Future’s foresight engine.  The engine brings a large community of people to come together to investigate, explore and discuss a future scenario.  Pounamu invokes a future New Zealand that is trying to make its way in the world by drawing … Read More

40% of our post-doctoral fellowships gone? Who’s to blame?

Shaun Hendy May 27, 2012

’Are we failing our scientists?’ asks Nikki MacDonald in last Saturday’s Dominion Post. MacDonald posed this question after obtaining figures from the Ministry of Science and Innovation showing that the number of post-doctoral positions funded by the Ministry fell from 386 in 2007/8 to 323 in 2009/10.  And this decline occurred before the government had axed the New Zealand Science … Read More

Sir Paul Callaghan (1947-2012)

Shaun Hendy Apr 02, 2012

Sir Paul Callaghan was arguably the greatest scientist ever to ply his trade in New Zealand. He led the world in his chosen field of science. He led a team of almost three hundred scientists who changed the way New Zealanders do science. He led the thinking behind the science and innovation policies that are embraced today by the major … Read More

Marsden 2011: Toughest year ever?

Shaun Hendy Oct 10, 2011

The successful Marsden Fund applicants were announced on Thursday after what might have been the toughest round ever. Although the total number of proposals received in the first round this year was slightly down, the overall success rate plummeted to just over 8%, the lowest in the data series I have*.  The overall success rate since 1998 has been … Read More

Women in Science

Shaun Hendy Aug 19, 2011

The recent 2011 snapshot of women in science in New Zealand (you can get it here from the The New Zealand Association of Women in the Sciences) makes for sobering reading.  Peter Griffin has reproduced some of the stats in his blog. In a nutshell, the report shows that there is a large gap … Read More