University projects take majority of MBIE science funding

  • 06/09/2015

Environment-friendly cows, pesticides that don't kill bees and preparing the country for electric cars are among a list of university projects that will be paid for by a new round of government science funding.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has announced its 2015 science investment round, with university projects coming out the big winners.

University-led projects won $53.8 million of a combined $96.5 million given out by the ministry this week and made up 67 percent of all projects.

All eight New Zealand universities received some funding.

The University of Auckland picked up more than $14 million for eight major projects, including for electric car planning and a drone device to analyse farm pastures.

About $2.9 million will also go to a four-year research project aimed at studying the root causes of family violence.

A project to reduce methane emission from livestock received $836,000.

The University of Otago was allocated $5.7 million for projects including bee-friendly pesticides and a device to allow early treatment of gum disease.

Other projects to receive funding included research into protecting the country's power grids from "solar tsunamis", which received just short of $1.5 million.

NZ universities director Chris Whelan said the allocations show the real-world relevance of research in universities.

"We are delighted that the minister values the importance of research-led science as a key driver of economic growth," he said.