This week we got ourselves a new room for science scholars! On the third floor of OGGB, we were able to see the tennis court, domain and the harbour.
Aside from the great view, we also had a nice session. We were first introduced to the concept of ‘eight great technologies’- that is, the ones that the government are trying to fund and promote over the next 50-ish years. Then, we were told to come up with our own ideas to be funded in NZ.
Our group’s ideas are as below:
- Cancer research
- Obesity research
- Antibiotic resistance
- Climate change
- Computer Science
- Agricultural & food science
- Pharmaceuticals (already funded?)
- Genetically modified plants & animals
One issue that came up during our brainstorm was the breadth/depth of our ideas- how specific do they have to be? Each of the ideas listed above can be split into many smaller parts of a whole. When do we decide ‘this is specific enough’ without being too specific?
For our ideas, the winning group would be getting 1 Million, so the depth of the idea would be tailored around what is realistic in terms of the funds available. From my perspective though, 1 million seems quite arbitrary, since I have no idea how much things cost in research, although it seems like everyone is fighting for funding, so the answer must be a lot of money, especially if everyone is looking to perfect their research.
I don’t like how it seems like funding is so difficult it turns academics against each other, but then it was also entertaining to see how funding panels function (criticise and poke holes in every project, even the best may not get their funding). It would be interesting to see if some small tricks made funding more likely- for example, font, colour, and even a shorter title for the project. Or I could just work on making the project itself better!
Thank you for reading!