Alert Newsletter: 670

1. Rutherford Foundation funding for early career development

Two New Zealand post-doctoral fellowships, valued at $190,000 over two years, are available for recent PhD graduates.  Applications are due 30 June 2011.  Applicants should consult with potential supervisors to agree a project and contact referees early to enable plenty of time for their referee reports to be completed by the deadline.

In addition, a Freemasons post-doctoral fellowship at Edinburgh is available for research into any area related to ageing.  The applications for this are due to the Rutherford Foundation by 31 August; again, early contact with potential supervisors is recommended.

Two PhD scholarships at Cambridge University are being offered with an application deadline of 1 August 2011. Details of all these opportunities are available at

Please note that institutional deadlines may be earlier than these dates for those people whose applications are processed through their research offices.

2. Charles Fleming public lectures – Rotorua and Canterbury

The Charles Fleming Lecturer for 2011 is Professor Sir Alan Mark from the Department of Botany, University of Otago. Professor Mark’s talk is “Mountain tops to ocean depths: involvement with a range of ecological/environmental issues, mainly in the south”.

More details of his talk are available at There are two remaining lectures:

  • Rotorua – Thursday, 26 May, 7.30 pm
    Rimu Room, Scion, 49 Sala St, Rotorua
  • Canterbury – Thursday, 2 June, 7.30 pm
    St Patricks Hall, 108a Jeffreys Road (east of Idris Road, just past St Matthews Church). Car parking at the rear.

3. Next Tuesday – ‘Harnessing Nature’s Colours’ – a free public lecture by Professor Penny Brothers, 7.30pm, 31 May, Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology

Professor Brothers’ talk will cover – Why is a leaf green and blood red? They both contain molecules called porphyrins which are found throughout the natural world and are essential for life. The theme of this lecture will be how chemists can learn from nature’s ingenious solutions to chemical problems and use this knowledge to design new molecules.

Location – Lecture Theatre A211, Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology Building, cnr Alton and Hardy Streets, Nelson.

This is the next talk in the Marie Curie Lecture Series from the Royal Society of New Zealand which is running all year, in different centres around New Zealand celebrating the International Year of Chemistry. These lectures are free and open to the public. For more information please contact or 04 4705770. For the schedule visit

4. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand latest issue

The latest issue of the ‘Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand’ is out now and has articles about Wellington’s geological history and obsidian in the Taupo region. Read the abstracts via this link.

5. Navy trip opportunities for senior school students

The Royal Society of New Zealand, in conjunction with the Royal New Zealand Navy, is providing several exciting opportunities for Year 12 and 13 students who have an interest in science and mathematics. Students will get to experience, observe and participate in life on HMNZS (Her Majesty’s New Zealand Ship). Four to five students will be selected for each of the three missions happening in June, August and November. To find out more visit

6. The Molecular Anthology Project – submissions close next week, 31 May

Forget the All Blacks; it’s time to pick a different line up! Who do you think are New Zealand’s Molecular all stars?  Molecules are made up of at least two atoms held together by chemicals bonds, but despite their tiny size, their discovery and uses can change the history of an entire country.

A quest is being held during the 2011 International Year of Chemistry to create a list of molecules or materials that have changed New Zealand society. The Manawatu Branch of the New Zealand Institute of Chemistry is encouraging people all over the country to take part in this discussion. School students and RSNZ members are welcome to participate.

Submissions are open until 31 May. A short list of 10 candidates will be compiled and voting will take place on the website to rank the Top 10, with the results to be announced at the NZIC Conference in December.

To have your say, visit Submit a molecule or material that has changed or probably will change New Zealand society. Please provide a short description/justification and, if possible, a picture that they can put on the website.

Key dates

31 May 2011 – Submissions close and the Top 10 are collated
1 June 2011 – Voting opens
31 July 2011 – Voting closes
December 2011 – Winning molecule is announced

7. FUSIONZ Science Jobs

This week, Fusionz has 2 vacancies for jobs. The latest jobs are:

  • Application Scientist – Sales: Dunedin
  • Analyst/Senior Analyst, Policy: Wellington

For more information and to list your vacancy visit

8. 2011 Influencers – nominations now open

‘Unlimited’ magazine is on the hunt for the country’s 2011 Influencers. It is looking for people that you think are today’s game changers. Who’s making a difference out there? Whose technology, widget, research or general outspoken presence is setting or could set the scene for the next decade? Nominations are open now and time is short. Send the magazine your nomination or nominations – plus a sentence on why you think that person is a 2011 influencer. Send your nominations to Lesley Springall at by Wednesday 1 June. Every nomination will be entered into Unlimited’s prize draw to win a year’s subscription to Unlimited (this can be gifted if you’re already a subscriber) plus a case of fine New Zealand wine.

9. ASSR forum, ‘Introducing a new professional doctorate, the Doctor of Government’, lunchtime, 1 June, Wellington

The School of Government at Victoria University is launching a professional doctorate, the Doctor of Government (DGov), in the fields of public policy and public management.  The DGov provides an alternative to the PhD for those working in Government.  It will equip highly capable, experienced public-sector candidates with the skills, knowledge and critical disposition to investigate challenges, resolve problems in public service professional practice, and lead ideas and their implementation.  The DGov will combine coursework with a thesis that makes an original and significant contribution to knowledge for practice.

Dr Amanda Wolf, the DGov director, will talk about the degree, its requirements and expectations, and answer questions. For more information visit or contact the Association of Social Science Researchers secretary Dr Kathie Irwin:

10. 46th University of Otago Foreign Policy School‘Science Diplomacy: New Day or False Dawn?’, 24-26 June, Dunedin

Science Diplomacy is the new catch cry for international relations. With it we can solve the issues facing the world, from global warming to space exploration to international terrorism. Or can we? The Otago Foreign Policy School 2011 will address the potential and the realities for science diplomacy, particularly as they apply to this part of the globe.

The venue is St Margaret’s College, 333 Leith St, Dunedin, University of Otago campus. The School begins Friday evening at 5.30pm and finishes Sunday at 5.00pm.

The speakers will include – Dr Vaughan Turekian, Director, Centre for Science Diplomacy, USA; Dr Atsushi Sunami, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, Japan; Dr Ailikun (艾丽坤), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), China’s foremost expert on global climate change; Daryl Copeland, from Canada, and the man behind the website Guerrilla Diplomacy; US Ambassador David Huebner; and Professor Brian Boyle, CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science, Australia.

For more information and to register visit Enquiries to: 03-4667 137 or 027 223 0646 or

11. NZ Society for Sustainability Engineering and Science, International Speaker Winter Workshop Series, June 2011

This workshop series is about ‘Water Resources Management in New Zealand’ with Professor Hans Schreier, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. Professor Schreier is an expert in water management for both the urban and agricultural sectors. He was a keynote speaker at the Transitions to Sustainability Conference in December last year and was so well-received he has been invited to return to present these workshops in Hamilton, Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin and Christchurch.  For more information visit the website Enquiries to Vicky – 027 2305 365. To register email to

12. Bright Ideas Challenge 2011, Wellington

The search is on to find the Wellington region’s brightest ideas. Up for grabs is the chance to win $25,000 start-up capital and the support to help take business ideas to the next level.  Every idea gets feedback and the ideas with the greatest potential will go on to the next stage.  Ideas should be no more than 100 words and need to be submitted by 26 June through the Bright Ideas website

13. John Dunmore Medal 2011 – call for nominations

Nominations are now invited for the award of the John Dunmore Medal, which recognises outstanding contributions to the knowledge of the role of the French or the French language in the Pacific region. The closing date for nominations is 8 July 2011.

The prize shall be awarded annually in recognition of a contribution to the knowledge or understanding of the part played by the French people or the French language in the development of historical, cultural, scientific, economic or other aspects of the Pacific. For the purpose of the award, the term ”Pacific” shall be understood to exclude the continental and coastal regions of Asia and America.

The award shall be made to a person or persons born in New Zealand or normally resident in New Zealand.

For further information, contact Professor Glynnis Cropp:  telephone 06 3569099 ext 2398, e-mail

14. ChemEd 2011 Conference, Palmerston North, 17-20 July

2011 is the International Year of Chemistry and what better way to celebrate it than to join with chemistry educators and researchers from across New Zealand and abroad. ChemEd 2011 celebrating the International Year of Chemistry seeks to do exactly this – bring together chemistry educators and researchers from across sectors to share together, learn from each other and celebrate the wonders of chemistry.

More information and registrations can be found at

15. 19th International Congress of Biometeorology (ICB2011) – call for abstracts closes 29 May

In 2011 the International Society of Biometeorology will hold its 19th International Congress of Biometeorology (ICB2011) at The University of Auckland from 4-8 December. The ICB2011 theme is Climate and Society. This reflects the International Society of Biometeorology’s deep interest in understanding the weather and climate sensitivity of human activities, livelihoods and well-being and ecosystem processes and services.  Call for abstracts closes 29 May, registration opens 1 July, call for papers 30 June – 8 September. For more information visit

16. Our Changing World, Tonight 9.00 pm, Radio New Zealand National

Alison Ballance, Ruth Beran and Veronika Meduna, email Tel (04) 474 1910.

Athletes often pour water over themselves during a race to cool down, but does skin temperature have an impact on athletic performance? To answer this question, Massey University’s Toby Mündel and Zac Schlader, are putting cyclists in a hot chamber, or in a water-filled body suit.

A new predictive biomarker for blood pressure is being developed through a collaboration between Canterbury Scientific, Cambridge University, Christchurch Hospital, and the University of Otago, Christchurch. As Ruth Beran discovers, it’s early days yet, but the assay may be used to detect pre-eclampsia in pregnant women in the future.

It’s been heralded as ‘black gold’, a way of improving the soil and of mitigating climate change by locking away carbon. But what exactly is biochar, how do you make it, and how do you find out what it does in the soil? To find out more about this ‘super charcoal’ Alison Ballance meets soil biologist Marta Camps and chemical engineer Jim Jones at Massey University’s Biochar Research Centre.

Shorter science, health and environment features also air during Afternoons with Jim Mora at 3.45 p.m., Monday to Thursday. The programme is repeated at 1.10 a.m. on Sunday mornings.

You can download a podcast or listen to streaming audio of programmes you’ve missed in the complete programme archive at: