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Search Marsden awards 2008–2017

Search awarded Marsden Fund grants 2008–2017

Fund Type: Marsden Fund

Category: Fast-Start

Year Awarded: 2016

Title: 'A Union of Hearts and Wills'? Second World War Conscription and New Zealand Society

Recipient(s): Dr DC Littlewood | PI | Massey University

Public Summary: On New Zealand’s entry into the Second World War, Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage asserted that its people would fight with ‘a union of hearts and wills’. But this claim was sorely tested by the implementation of conscription. From June 1940, 306,000 men were called up for military service, and tens of thousands of men and women were ‘manpowered’ into essential war industries. While historians have examined the consequences for the small minority of individuals who raised conscientious objections, no one has yet investigated the domestic, social, and economic upheaval that conscription caused for New Zealand’s entire population. It posed ideological dilemmas for the previously anti-conscriptionist Labour Government, led to a dramatic extension of state control, shattered family units, altered the gender balance of the workforce, prompted a re-assessment of the Crown’s relationship with Māori, and threw into question ideas of ‘Britishness’. My project will be the first integrated analysis of New Zealand as a conscripted society, and the first to examine how its experiences compared to those of the other mobilised democracies in the British Empire. This approach will open up new avenues of enquiry into how New Zealanders perceived both themselves, and their country’s place in the world.

Total Awarded: $300,000

Duration: 3

Host: Massey University

Contact Person: Dr DC Littlewood

Panel: HUM

Project ID: 16-MAU-028


Fund Type: Marsden Fund

Category: Standard

Year Awarded: 2017

Title: 'Living' wages: Transforming lives, transforming work?

Recipient(s): Professor SC Carr | PI | Massey University Auckland
Dr S Alefaio-Tugia | PI | Massey University Auckland
Professor J Arrowsmith | PI | Massey University Auckland
Professor JM Haar | PI | Auckland University of Technology
Professor DJ Hodgetts | PI | Massey University Auckland
Professor J Parker | PI | Massey University Auckland

Public Summary: If employment is a solution to poverty, and prosperity includes quality of living, then earning a living wage is pivotal. But what is a living wage, what freedoms and qualities of (work) life can it enable? Living wages are widely touted as empowering individuals and households, providing a pathway from poverty to work-life satisfaction and greater shared prosperity. Yet living wage debates themselves remain shrouded in material, pecuniary concerns, from the cost of shopping baskets to the hourly pay rate that buys them.

Our approach differs because we explore a wage spectrum; diverse perspectives of employers and employees; and use research techniques that will deliver findings of breadth and depth over time. First, with livelihoods positioned across a wage spectrum, we examine when, how and by what means lives can be enhanced, using surveys anchored in lower-income communities. Second, we explore wage-setting and its impact on the organisational functioning and livelihood-quality of life nexus, using organisational case studies. Third, we investigate decision-making around the wage spectrum with employers, using focus groups. Throughout, we draw insights from, and engage with, a purpose-built global living wage network (https://youtu.be/zbZafHgqumo). This project will inform public deliberations on living wages in an age of societal and organisational transformation.

Total Awarded: $845,000

Duration: 3

Host: Massey University Auckland

Contact Person: Professor SC Carr

Panel: SOC

Project ID: 17-MAU-137


Fund Type: Marsden Fund

Category: Fast-Start

Year Awarded: 2013

Title: 'Time slows down whenever you're around': the evolutionary psychology of timing and perceived attractiveness

Recipient(s): Dr J Arantes | PI | University of Canterbury
Professor JH Wearden | AI | Keele University

Public Summary: What happens when we first feel attracted to another person? A common trope in literature and popular culture is that time slows down or even stops. We plan the first systematic investigation of how time perception changes during interpersonal attraction. The research builds on our recent report that females’ reproduced duration of briefly-viewed photos of attractive males was longer than for photos of unattractive males, whereas there was no difference for photos of attractive vs. unattractive females. To explain this result, we proposed that the human timing system evolved to include adaptations to enhance fitness. The proposed studies will explore how subjective time changes in situations related to interpersonal attraction, whether these changes can be understood as an evolutionary adaptation, the cognitive processes that mediate them and their electrophysiological correlates, and whether they predict attraction in real life. Current research on attraction depends largely on what people say – that is, on conscious cognition that may reflect inaccurate biases. We will use both laboratory and realistic methods to explore what happens automatically and instinctively in the cognitive system during interpersonal attraction.

Total Awarded: $300,000

Duration: 3

Host: University of Canterbury

Contact Person: Dr J Arantes

Panel: EHB

Project ID: 13-UOC-105


Fund Type: Marsden Fund

Category: Standard

Year Awarded: 2016

Title: 'Woe is me': women and complaint in the English Renaissance

Recipient(s): Dr SCE Ross | PI | Victoria University of Wellington
Professor MF O'Callaghan | AI | University of Reading
Associate Professor RL Smith | AI | University of Newcastle

Public Summary: This three-year project examines English Renaissance women’s engagement with complaint, a powerful and ubiquitous rhetorical mode that voices erotic, religious, and political protest and loss. Renaissance complaint against fickle lovers, harsh deities, and unfavourable times often foregrounds the voice and body of a lamenting woman, but it is largely understood as male-authored, an act of literary ventriloquy. Scholars have no collective sense of how Renaissance women used this culturally central mode.

Our project brings together a uniquely qualified, internationally recognised research team to undertake the first comprehensive interrogation of Renaissance women’s engagement with complaint as writers, readers, patrons, collaborators, editors, and performers. We will explore elite literary texts alongside religious works, gallows confessions, popular ballads and songs, and examine printed works alongside manuscript literatures. In a co-authored monograph on Women and Complaint in the English Renaissance, and a journal special issue and symposium on The Politics of Complaint, we will produce a new account of how the voices of the disempowered, railing against their circumstances, helped to shaped the literary and social cultures of the English Renaissance. This account will challenge current understandings of what constitutes Renaissance experience and expression, and about the extent and reach of ‘the Renaissance’ itself.

Total Awarded: $450,000

Duration: 3

Host: Victoria University of Wellington

Contact Person: Dr SCE Ross

Panel: HUM

Project ID: 16-VUW-057


Fund Type: Marsden Fund

Category: Standard

Year Awarded: 2014

Title: 8,000 years of hunter-gatherer adaptation: burial and bioarchaeology at Roonka, Australia

Recipient(s): Associate Professor JH Littleton | PI | The University of Auckland
Dr KA Walshe | PI | Museum of South Australia
Associate Professor HA Allen | AI | The University of Auckland
Professor MA Katzenberg | AI | University of Calgary
Dr F Petchey | AI | University of Waikato

Public Summary: Using 216+ human remains and detailed records from Roonka, Australia, dating to the last 8,000 years, we will study burials as individual events. Analysing each in terms of its date, burial practices, and the individual histories of diet, health and activity will allow us to construct individual osteobiographies providing evidence of constraint and variation in Aboriginal lifeways. Conventional approaches aggregate burials into broad time spans (e.g. 5000 years) rather we will use osteobiographies to reconstruct a picture of historical change in human health and behaviour over the Holocene. This new model of hunter-gatherer behaviour will be developed with the collaboration and support of local Aboriginal community.

Total Awarded: $675,000

Duration: 3

Host: The University of Auckland

Contact Person: Associate Professor JH Littleton

Panel: EHB

Project ID: 14-UOA-019


Fund Type: Marsden Fund

Category: Standard

Year Awarded: 2016

Title: A 'Big Data' Approach to the Problem of Electoral Turnout

Recipient(s): Professor J Vowles | PI | Victoria University of Wellington

Public Summary: Why has New Zealand’s electoral turnout declined? What can be done about it? Previous research can partly answer the first question. But to answer the second, we need to know more about the people who move in and out of voting, a group inaccessible in previous research relying on surveys with low response rates among those not voting. Taking a ‘big data’ approach, using marked electoral rolls, and with a sample of 30,000 we will map and explain stability and change in voting and not voting over two general elections and two local elections. We will track movement between the general and Maori rolls, and by comparison of roll and census information generate simulated responses for the 7-8 per cent not on the rolls. The research tests four hypotheses: that turnout behaviour in the first election a person is eligible to vote will predict later behaviour; if the first opportunity to vote is a local rather than a national election, this will adversely affect later turnout behaviour; turnout behaviour becomes less fluid as people get older; and that Maori enrolment, turnout, and roll choice are affected by a mixture of socio-economic and cultural factors.

Total Awarded: $635,000

Duration: 3

Host: Victoria University of Wellington

Contact Person: Professor J Vowles

Panel: SOC

Project ID: 16-VUW-100


Fund Type: Marsden Fund

Category: Standard

Year Awarded: 2015

Title: A baby's eye view: theory of mind development through exposure to repeated behaviours

Recipient(s): Professor T Ruffman | PI | University of Otago
Dr DK Scarf | AI | University of Otago
Dr MM Taumoepeau | AI | University of Otago

Public Summary: Most researchers argue that babies are 'mind readers'. Mind reading, or theory-of-mind (ToM), entails an understanding of others' desires and beliefs. It is 'the most important development in early childhood social cognition', and is reliably linked to children's empathy, popularity and social skills. The idea that babies have a ToM is consistent with the current zeitgeist that infants possess 'core innate knowledge'. Instead, we argue that infants begin by understanding behaviour, which they learn about by virtue of their exposure to environmental regularities and their innate capacity for statistical learning, enabling learning about patterns. Most regard such ideas as far-fetched. However, we placed a head camera on 39 12- to 24-month-olds to film the world from their perspective, finding that children's ToM was closely related to their exposure to environmental regularities (repeated behaviours such as drinking from a cup over and over), as well as their imitation of such behaviours. Our findings are, however, impotent without a larger longitudinal study. The proposed research will utilize cutting-edge techniques to show that children's rich exposure to environmental information fuels their ToM, findings with profound theoretical implications for children's general development, which will also reveal optimal parenting strategies facilitating their well-being.

Total Awarded: $767,000

Duration: 3

Host: University of Otago

Contact Person: Professor T Ruffman

Panel: EHB

Project ID: 15-UOO-185


Fund Type: Marsden Fund

Category: Fast-Start

Year Awarded: 2014

Title: A banner of peace? Missions and peace activism, 1814-1850

Recipient(s): Dr GM Troughton | PI | Victoria University of Wellington

Public Summary: New Zealanders are known internationally for their commitment to peace. Historians generally associate this characteristic with developments in the twentieth century. This project argues that the beginnings of a peace tradition may be found much earlier, in forms of missionary Christianity that have more commonly been regarded as agents of conflict and cultural disruption. The research examines the fascinating, hitherto unexamined role of peaceable ideas and activism in missionary Christianity. In so doing, it offers a fresh analysis of early nineteenth-century New Zealand history, and of global missionary projects, focusing on crucial dynamics of cultural exchange and religious adaptation.

The project provides the first significant examination of missionary peace teaching in New Zealand or, indeed, of nineteenth-century missionary peace teaching anywhere. It will explore how Christian missionaries promoted peace as central to their theology, and examine the implications of this theology during the intense phase of missionary activity and religious change between 1814 and 1850. The research will re-evaluate simple assumptions about the role of religion in peace and conflict, and examine how the legacy of early missions in New Zealand may continue to influence deeply held national values, even among those who no longer identify with religion.

Total Awarded: $300,000

Duration: 3

Host: Victoria University of Wellington

Contact Person: Dr GM Troughton

Panel: HUM

Project ID: 14-VUW-109


Fund Type: Marsden Fund

Category: Standard

Year Awarded: 2009

Title: A bee-line into memory mechanisms

Recipient(s): Professor AR Mercer | PI | University of Otago
Professor P Kloppenburg | AI | University of Cologne
Mr HJ McQuillan | AI | University of Otago
Professor U Mueller | AI | University of Saarland

Public Summary: Understanding the cellular mechanisms involved in memory formation remains one of the most interesting and important challenges facing neuroscientists today. We wish to develop a novel approach using developmental changes in the learning ability of the honeybee, Apis mellifera, to identify cellular and molecular events involved in the formation of associative olfactory memories. Our goal is to understand how memory traces that predict punishment differ from those predicting reward, a goal that has potential medical relevance and is of broad scientific interest. This work will grow existing research capabilities in New Zealand and establish a New Zealand-led research initiative.

Total Awarded: $866,667

Duration: 3

Host: University of Otago

Contact Person: Professor AR Mercer

Panel: CMP

Project ID: 09-UOO-136


Fund Type: Marsden Fund

Category: Standard

Year Awarded: 2017

Title: A bird in the bush with the data at hand: predicting ecological networks using traits and phylogenies

Recipient(s): Professor JM Tylianakis | PI | University of Canterbury
Professor GLW Perry | AI | The University of Auckland
Associate Professor DP Vazquez | AI | Nat Scientific & Technical Research Cncl-CONICET

Public Summary: All species depend on interactions with others for their survival. These interactions can be seen as a complex network, the architecture of which is important for maintaining functioning ecosystems. Currently, we cannot predict how these networks of interactions will change under future conditions, because it is unclear when the characteristics of species (‘niche’ processes) or their probability of encountering one another at random (‘neutral’ processes) determines the occurrence of interactions. This project will study networks of interactions among plants and their pollinators and seed dispersers to understand the situations under which niche vs. neutral processes are most important. In particular, we will test whether exotic species and species that interact with many others choose their interaction partners less on the basis of their traits, and more based on their abundance. Then we will test whether the importance of niche vs. neutral processes is constant in time and space, and along environmental gradients. Finally, we will use these findings to model how changing importance of niche vs. neutral processes influences the vulnerability of interaction networks to invasions by exotic species, and the survival of native species.

Total Awarded: $865,000

Duration: 3

Host: University of Canterbury

Contact Person: Professor JM Tylianakis

Panel: EEB

Project ID: 17-UOC-096


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