Alert Newsletter 701

1. Marsden Fund Council vacancies

Eminent scientists are sought to fill three vacancies on the Marsden Fund Council and to convene funding panels in their academic area. The three positions convene the following panels:

  • Mathematical and Information Sciences;
  • Humanities;
  • Cellular, Molecular and Physiological Biology.

More detailed descriptions of the subject areas covered by each panel are shown on the Royal Society’s website at:

The vacancies have arisen following the completion of their terms by two incumbent members and the resignation of one member. The positions will commence from 1 March 2012 and are for three years. The appointments are made by the Minister of Science and Innovation.

For more information and a nomination form, please see the Ministry of Science and Innovation website at Please confirm that any person nominated is available and consents to being nominated, and is not planning to submit a funding bid to the Council.

Please send nominations to before 5.00 pm on Wednesday, 8 February 2012.

2. Professor Chris Stringer: ‘Origin of our species, Neanderthals and the Early Human Occupation of Britain and Europe’, February 2012

Professor Chris Stringer answers some of the big questions:  How can we define modern humans, and how can we recognise our beginnings in the fossil and archaeological record? How can we accurately date fossils, including ones beyond the range of radiocarbon dating? Has human evolution stopped, or are we still evolving? What can we expect from future research on our origins? 

Professor Chris Stringer is in New Zealand by invitation of the Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and Evolution and his public talks are supported by the Royal Society of New Zealand.  Details for booking tickets are available at

  • Auckland, 6.00 pm, 22 February, Auckland War Memorial Museum;
  • Christchurch, 6.00 pm, 23 February, C1 Central Lecture Theatre, University of Canterbury;
  • Dunedin, 6.00 pm, 24 February, St David Lecture Theatre, University of Otago;

Wellington, 6.00 pm, 25 February, Embassy Theatre, Courtenay Place.

3. Professor Robert Glennon visiting New Zealand in February 2012

Professor Robert Glennon, author and Professor of Public Law and Policy at the University of Arizona, is visiting New Zealand next month to raise public awareness on water related issues and give a view on the problems that have arisen in the US. 

He will be giving public lectures on:

  • Wednesday, 1 February in Hamilton, Concert Chamber, Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts;
  • Wednesday, 8 February in Wellington, Rutherford House Lecture Theatre 1, Pipitea Campus, Bunny Street;
  • Thursday, 9 February in Christchurch, C1 Central Lecture Theatre, University of Canterbury.

Further are details available at

4. Asia Pacific Science Policy Studies Research Conference

This conference, to be held in Wellington from 8 to 10 February 2012, the first of its kind in New Zealand, explores how science policy is developed and implemented, and how scientific knowledge is used in the policy process and decision-making by governments and industry.

The conference will consider the broad sweep of research on the relationships between science (including social science) and policy decision-making for national wellbeing through science, technology and innovation. 

The programme offers a compelling line-up of keynote addresses, contributed papers, events focused on indigenous contributions  to science policy studies, and interactive  opportunities.  Find out more at

 To register for the conference go to

5. NZCCC Conference 2012 “Sea-Level Rise: Meeting the Challenge”

The New Zealand Climate Change Centre (NZCCC) announces its major conference for 2012 entitled: “Sea-Level Rise: Meeting the Challenge”.

This two-day Conference will take place at Te Papa Museum in Wellington, New Zealand on 10 – 11 May 2012 and will examine the latest science regarding sea-level rise projections, discuss associated bio-physical and social impacts on the coastal environment and consider adaptation options via case studies from around New Zealand and internationally.

For additional information please visit:

Further information including details of how to register will be advertised from late February 2012.

6. FUSIONZ website for science, technology, humanities jobs

This week, Fusionz has 5 vacancies for jobs. The latest jobs are:

  • Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Committee Members: Environmental Protection Authority, NZ
  • Landcare Research Senior Fellowship: Landcare Research, NZ
  • Quantitative Scientist: Dragonfly Science, Wellington
  • Landcare Research Senior Fellowship: Landcare Research, Christchurch
  • Ross Beever Memorial Fellowship: Landcare Research, Auckland

For more information and to list your vacancy –

7. Our Changing World, Thursday, 26 January  9.00 pm, Radio New Zealand National

Alison Ballance, Veronika Meduna and Ruth Beran; email;

Tel (04) 474 1910.

Alison Ballance joins a Geoscience Society conference field trip to Nelson’s iconic boulder bank to find out how geologists believe the distinctive gravel barrier was formed.

Blue penguins, the world’s smallest penguins, breed on many coastlines in New Zealand but their numbers are declining. In most places, introduced predators are to blame but, as Veronika Meduna finds out, on the West Coast people are the biggest problem.

The newest residents on Wellington’s Matiu-Somes island are 80 fluttering shearwater chicks, and Alison Ballance heads out to meet the team of volunteers feeding the hungry seabirds their daily sardine smoothies.

Shorter science, health and environment features also air during Afternoons with Jim Mora at 3.35 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:

8. Follow the Royal Society of New Zealand on Facebook and Twitter

Get timely updates from the Royal Society of New Zealand team via our Facebook and Twitter channels.



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