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Search James Cook Fellowship awards 1996–2017

Search awarded James Cook Research Fellowships 1996-2017


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Fund Type: James Cook Fellowship

Year Awarded: 1999

Title: A Better Democracy? People and Politics in New Zealand

Public Summary: The proposed book and other published outcomes will assess changes in New Zealand political behaviour and public opinion over the long term, and more recently, those associated with the transition to MMP. It will systematically explore in depth survey data generated by the New Zealand Election Study from 1987 onward. It will also draw on survey data from the 1963, 1975, and 1981 elections, and from work on party manifestos and voting patterns going back to before World War I.

Total Awarded: $171,644

Duration: 2

Host: University of Waikato

Contact Person: Professor Jack Vowles FRSNZ 

Panel: Research of relevance to the peoples of New Zealand and/or the SW Pacific

Project ID: 99/SW/08

Contract ID: JCF-UOW901


Fund Type: James Cook Fellowship

Year Awarded: 2003

Title: A Demographic History of New Zealand

Public Summary: This research will analyse changes in our component populations, making comparisons both between these and with others overseas, including our cultural “root stocks”. These findings will then be synthesised into the story of New Zealand’s population. Themes covered will not only be fertility, mortality, migration and age-structural transitions, and the relationships between them, but also other associated trends: geographical distribution; labour force transformation; family structures; and, where possible, the cultural fabric (e.g. ethnicity birthplace, religion). It will be a narrative accessible to specialists and non-specialists, but rigorously grounded in theoretical and technical research, some completed during the programme.

Total Awarded: $213,333

Duration: 2

Host: University of Waikato

Contact Person: Professor Ian Pool FRSNZ 

Panel: Research of relevance to the peoples of New Zealand and/or the SW Pacific

Project ID: 03/RR/03

Contract ID: JCF-UOW0301


Fund Type: James Cook Fellowship

Year Awarded: 2001

Title: A History of New Zealand as an Experimental Society

Public Summary: My main goal is to complete a one-volume history of New Zealand. My argument centres on the ways in which New Zealand has been imagined as an experimental society since Europeans completed their own map of human variation and possibility in the late eighteenth century. The argument centres on the immigrants' belief and hope that a new and better society might be established, and that ensuring both the survival of the indigenous people and their incorporation into the new society on a just basis has always been part of this vision; Such an argument also involves a comparative approach. Britain was both an exemplar and a warning. Australia and the United States were also warnings of what to avoid.

Total Awarded: $164,444

Duration: 2

Host: University of Otago

Contact Person: Professor Erik Olssen FRSNZ 

Panel: Research of relevance to the peoples of New Zealand and/or the SW Pacific

Project ID: 01/RR/10

Contract ID: JCF-UOO0102


Fund Type: James Cook Fellowship

Year Awarded: 1999

Title: A History of the Urewera, 1820-1922

Public Summary: A history of the Urewera from first contact with Europeans until the consolidating legislation, 1921-2, when the government divided the land. It was one (of two) autonomous enclaves of Maori authority in the North Island of New Zealand. The Urewera was, however, unique in that it became a recognized entity, gaining legislative protection in 1896. This study will show ways in which the Tuhoe leaders tried to maintain their boundaries (the 'Rohe Potae' of Tuhoe) and their identity, while seeking a complementary political relationship with the Crown. The intention is to write a book for publication.

Total Awarded: $250,222

Duration: 3

Host: The University of Auckland

Contact Person: Professor Judith Binney 

Panel: Social Sciences

Project ID: 99/SS/04

Contract ID: JCF-UOA903


Fund Type: James Cook Fellowship

Year Awarded: 2013

Title: A path to understanding bowel bacteria

Public Summary: The large bowels of humans contain trillions of bacterial cells belonging to hundreds of species that form self-regulating communities known as the microbiota. These collections of bacteria have the capacity to chemically transform digestion-resistant-carbohydrates and other polymers present in the digesta. The aim of the program is to develop ways to experiment with mixtures of bacteria that live in the human bowel. Physiological measurements of specific bacteria in pure and co-culture in laboratory microcosms will be made to determine the nutritional drivers of microbiota composition and function, especially with respect to the little studied bacterial family Lachnospiraceae. The basic science generated by this approach could be translated to technology (problem solving) with respect to the development of foods and prophylactic supplements that would contribute to sustaining life-long health. Also critical to translation of basic science to technology is the derivation and dissemination of an updated conceptual view of human bowel ecology. The proposed program thus encompasses laboratory research and science communication and has the overall aim of providing a path to understanding bowel bacteria.

Total Awarded: $220,000

Duration: 2

Host: University of Otago

Contact Person: Professor Gerald Tannock FRSNZ 

Panel: Health Sciences

Project ID: JCF-13-UOO-003

Contract ID: JCF-UOO1301


Fund Type: James Cook Fellowship

Year Awarded: 2015

Title: A strategy for targeting the cancer-associated protein YB-1 as a novel cancer therapy

Public Summary: Cancer is a problem in New Zealand and worldwide. Although some cancers are curable or manageable long-term, others remain resistant to treatment. These include aggressive breast cancers and melanoma, which have poor patient outcome. There is therefore a need for the development of new therapies. This project will explore a protein termed YB-1 as a potential novel therapeutic target for treating cancer. YB-1 is present at high levels in cancer cells, particularly in advanced cancers. YB-1 has also been shown to be required for cancer cell growth and cancer cell survival. Thus, YB-1 seems to be an excellent target for new cancer therapies, and the aim of this research is to develop a targeting strategy for YB-1.
Interestingly, the ability of YB-1 protein to cause cancer cell growth has been linked to a specific modification of the protein called phosphorylation (the attachment of phosphate groups). Professor Braithwaite’s research group has identified several different modification sites on YB-1 that are phosphorylated, which in principle could be blocked to provide additional opportunities for therapy development. With this project, Professor Braithwaite will investigate the role of the YB-1 protein in cancer growth in more detail. In particular, he will examine the contribution of each of these additional phosphorylation sites on cancer cell growth and survival, by inserting modified YB-1 protein molecules (which cannot be phosphorylated), into model cancer cells. Finally, upon having identified the phosphorylation sites that are most important for cancer cell growth, he will seek to develop small molecules with the ability to specifically block these individual sites on the YB-1 protein. Such small blocking-molecules thus have the potential to be developed into a new therapy for cancer. Ultimately, the development of new therapies as described will provide health benefits and may lead to commercial benefits flowing back to the New Zealand institutions involved in the research.

Total Awarded: $220,000

Duration: 2

Host: University of Otago

Contact Person: Professor Antony Braithwaite FRSNZ 

Panel: Health Sciences

Project ID: JCF-15-UOO-003

Contract ID: JCF-UOO1501


Fund Type: James Cook Fellowship

Year Awarded: 2004

Title: Acculturation, Adaptation and Intercultural Relations

Public Summary: The research considers important questions about cultural identity, acculturation, and intergroup relations in New Zealand. Where and how do immigrants fit into our society? “How important is it for migrants to be like other Kiwis?” and “How important is it for them to maintain aspects of their own cultural heritage?” This research examines the answers to these questions and the attitudes held by native-born New Zealanders and new migrants.
The research also investigates the consequences of the answers. How do attitudes toward identity and acculturation affect the psychological and sociocultural adaptation of migrants? How do they influence the relationships between Maori, Pakeha and new settlers?
Finally the research compares New Zealand perspectives with findings from 12 other countries. Are there aspects of New Zealand’s unique bi-cultural setting.that distinguish it from other receiving societies and differentially affect migrant adaptation and intergroup relations?

Total Awarded: $213,333

Duration: 2

Host: Victoria University of Wellington

Contact Person: Professor Colleen Ward

Panel: Social Sciences

Project ID: 04/SS/02

Contract ID: JCF-VUW0401


Fund Type: James Cook Fellowship

Year Awarded: 2009

Title: Adaptation of the New Zealand flora

Public Summary: Predicting the evolutionary response of biota to environmental change is one of the outstanding challenges of our time. It requires understanding constraints of evolution operating at the levels of species-environment interactions, genetic plasticity and adaptation. FTigh throughput sequencing technologies applied to the study of natural variation have the potential to provide us with an understanding of these constraints and also the evolutionary and adaptive potential of organisms. The proposed work programme implements high through put DNA and mRNA sequencing, ( automated analyses of gene function and studies of environmental variation to identify putative alpine plant adaptations and the genetic determinants of these. It investigates the potential role of hybridisation in promoting adaptive diversification.

Total Awarded: $213,333

Duration: 2

Host: Massey University

Contact Person: Professor Peter Lockhart FRSNZ 

Panel: Biological Sciences (including biotechnology)

Project ID: 09/BS/04

Contract ID: JCF-MAU0901


Fund Type: James Cook Fellowship

Year Awarded: 2007

Title: Algorithms, Complexity and Randomness

Public Summary: In the same way that a physicist might be concerned with understanding spacetime, my research is concerned with understanding the nature of computation. It is centered around basic questions: what part of mathematics can be algorithmic? That is, performed at on a machine. If it can be performed, how fast can it be performed? How do we show it can’t be performed faster? How do we calibrate algorithms? What is the correct way to use algorithms in the study of randomness? When is one real number more random than another? How is this related to basic questions in algorithmics? These questions are all intertwined. This proposal centers around two fundamental areas of mathematics which have recently undergone enormous growth due to a new understanding of their importance and a plethora of innovative ideas which have had far reaching and decisive applications. Much of this recent work is due to me and my co-authors. I hope to investigate the questions above much more deeply than otherwise possible without a James Cook Fellowship.

Total Awarded: $213,333

Duration: 2

Host: Victoria University of Wellington

Contact Person: Professor Rod Downey FRSNZ 

Panel: Physical Sciences (including chemical sciences, geosciences, mathematical and information sciences)

Project ID: 07/PS/03

Contract ID: JCF-VUW0701


Fund Type: James Cook Fellowship

Year Awarded: 2016

Title: Analysis and design of millimeter wave communication systems

Public Summary: The demand for mobile data continues to increase globally. International standards bodies have set extremely challenging targets for mobile communication systems to achieve by 2020. For example, increases in data rate of the order of one hundred times are envisaged. To support these rates, new spectrum in the so-called millimeter wave bands is being considered and is expected to become an integral component of 5G (Fifth Generation wireless systems) which is expected to begin deployment in 2018-2020.
The fundamental nature of millimeter wave channels is little known, with most measurement campaigns and theoretical models only emerging in the last few years. The best current understanding of the channel leads to channel models that are ray based, depending on the random geometry of the environment. This is in stark contrast to traditional mobile communication where relatively simple statistical models exist which are extensively used in the design and analysis of systems. Hence, the fundamental analytical building blocks for millimeter wave communication are almost entirely missing due to the complexity of these ray based models.In this project, Professor Smith aims to build up a set of analytical results for the millimeter wave channel, which form the basis of system evaluation and design. This allows him and his colleagues to develop performance evaluation methods for millimeter wave systems and also design and optimize signal processing schemes to achieve higher data rates.

Total Awarded: $220,000

Duration: 2

Host: Victoria University of Wellington

Contact Person: Professor Peter Smith

Panel: Engineering Sciences and Technologies

Project ID: JCF-16-VUW-003

Contract ID: JCF-VUW1601


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