Kia ora from Royal Society Te Apārangi | Issue #1075

An interview with Associate Professor Renate Meyer

German-born New Zealander Associate Professor Renate Meyer, University of Auckland, is an applied Bayesian statistician who has been internationally recognised as a pioneer in gravitational wave data analysis. 

To clearly decipher the weak gravitational wave signals from instrumental noise, it is essential to very carefully characterise the noise using statistical methods.

Renate’s contributions are helping make exotic and extreme events such as the coalescence of black holes – which are invisible to us using light – observable using gravitational waves.

In an interview as part of our Marsden Fund 25 Series, she shares how she landed in Aotearoa, what led her into her area of research and her experience leading a team of PhD students. 
Read more

Digging for gold and economic prosperity

In a new special issue 'Exploration models for New Zealand hard rock gold deposits' in the New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics researchers explore these deposits to highlight features that could be used to enhance mineral exploration throughout the nation.


Species Aotearoa

A new website for Species Aotearoa launched this week. This group seeks to boost taxonomy and biosystematics in Aotearoa New Zealand and was set up to address the goals outlined in Royal Society Te Apārangi's report National Taxonomic Collections in New Zealand (2015). 


2019 Highly Cited Researchers 

Fourteen New Zealand researchers are included in the latest list generated by the Web of Science Group. The list recognises over 6,000 scientists and social scientists who rank in the top 1% by citations for field and year. Included are Royal Society Te Apārangi Fellows Alexi Drummond, David Wardle, Edward Gane, John Blunt, Murray Munro, Philip Hulme and Richie Poulton. The period surveyed in the analysis is 2008-2018. 


Hear innovative solutions to pressing issues

Powering Potential brings together some of New Zealand’s most promising science students. Over three days, they will investigate assigned research questions in teams of five, alongside a scientist or specialist. On the final day, each group will present their findings in just 8 minutes at a public event in Wellington on 18 December.

Register > 

He pitopito kōrero News bulletin

Defending the free and responsible practice of science
The World Science Forum held in Budapest this week celebrates 20 years of history in science diplomacy. The International Science Council has published a new video that highlights the topic of freedom and responsibility in science. 
@International Science Council
$2 million for STEM projects that unlock our nations' minds
The sixth round of Unlocking Curious Minds has awarded $2 million in funding to 31 projects aimed at engaging more New Zealanders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
@Curious Minds
Samoa climate change resilience challenges Western perceptions
The resilience of Samoan communities in the face of climate change is providing a blueprint for other nations to follow.
@University of Otago
Virtual dive prepares children for marine research
A new Port Nelson sponsored Fifish V6 underwater drone will take school children down to depths of 100 metres off the coast of Nelson, without getting wet.
Katy Jones @Stuff
2020 Rhodes scholarships awarded to future leaders
Three outstanding young New Zealand graduates have received prestigious Rhodes Scholarships to carry out post-graduate study at the University of Oxford, UK.
@Universities New Zealand
New appointments to the National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee
The Minister of Agriculture has recently appointed Dr Nita Harding, Dr Jacquie Harper and Dr Mike King to the committee, which advises the Minister on ethics and animal welfare issues relating to the use of animals in research, testing and teaching.
UC students engineer medical solutions in Tonga
For 10 weeks this summer, seven students are going to be repairing life-saving medical equipment and engineering biomedical solutions in Tongan hospitals.
@University of Canterbury 
Tipping the scales? British student develops fish waste 'plastic'
Lucy Hughes has cooked up a compostable compound she hopes will one day replace much single-use plastic - and its main ingredient is byproducts of the fishing industry.
Stuart McDill @Reuters
Rat-aclysm tests forest defences
As a result of the mega mast, the Department of Conservation are battling a record number of rodents. Out of 280 traps on the West Coast, 201 rats and 15 stoats were discovered.
David Williams @Newsroom

Ngā take o te wā Events

29 November - 2 December, Various locations
BWB Talks: #NoFly National Tour
Professor Shaun Hendy FRSNZ ruled out flying in 2018 to reduce his carbon footprint. Now, he is giving a series of public talks on how we can all 'fly less'. Join him in Wellington and Palmerston North as part of his five-stop, national #NoFly tour.
6 December, Wellington
Navigating plastic pollution in Aotearoa
This expert panel discussion is about the extent and nature of plastic pollution in Aotearoa, and the best individual, business, and policy solutions that can be adopted.
10 December, Wānaka 
Alpine fault earthquake: Ground shaking and impacts 
Professor Brendon Bradley is part of a research team pioneering ground motion simulation to identify and mitigate earthquake impacts. They have been working on a system to model the process of an earthquake. He will be giving a talk as part of the Marsden Fund 25 Series.
31 January 2020, Wellington
Night of Ideas: Being Alive - Tihei Mauri Ora
Presented by the French Embassy, this event will focus on sharing French and Pacific perspectives in New Zealand. Artists, intellectuals and scientists from France and the Pacific region will get together and express what "being alive" means to them.

Ngā whiwhinga Opportunities

Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP)
Research grants for scientists at the frontiers of knowledge and risk on the complex mechanisms of living organisms in Life Sciences Research.

Closing date: End of March 2020
Organisation: Human Frontier Science Program
Nominations for 2020 Volvo Environment Prize now open
This prize rewards outstanding scientific discoveries or innovations within the environmental field.

Closing date: 10 January 2020
Organisation: The Volvo Environment Prize Foundation

Ngā hui Conferences

23-24 January 2020, Hamilton
SING Indigenous Genomics Conference
This conference will promote Indigenous partnerships in genomic science, focusing on research in ancestry, human relations, and relations in nature.
25-27 November 2020, Wellington
New Zealand Geographical Society Conference
The School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences at Victoria University of Wellington will be hosting this biennial conference with the theme 'Embracing Diversity: Expanding Geographies'.

About Us

Royal Society Te Apārangi supports New Zealanders to explore, discover and share knowledge. Our varied programmes provide support and opportunities for researchers, teachers and school students, together with those who are simply curious about the world. To learn more visit
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