8 April, 2019
The core purpose of the institute is the work we do training New Zealand's best students to be the scientific experts the world will need in the future.
Reflecting on 2018 – our first year as co-directors of the MacDiarmid Institute, it has been a year of new people, new partnerships, and new directions.
We celebrate the eight new Principal Investigators who joined us this year. This cohort includes early career researchers who are injecting new capability and energy – and New Zealand’s leading proponents of materials science in the context of mātauranga Māori. Along with the nine new Associate Investigators joining us this year, this new talent will expand the horizons for materials science in New Zealand in years to come.
We forged a partnership with Whakarewarewa thermal village. Our journey together sees us exploring the material world of the thermal village through the dual lenses of modern materials science and Māori knowledge passed through generations. This science partnership engages educators, children, and visitors to the small community where it is embedded.
We hosted a major forum – Materialise: A Sustainable Future – exploring the science for an environmentally and economically sustainable Aotearoa. International experts illuminated the basic research needs for new battery technologies, sustainable computing, water purification, and sustainable phosphorous use in fertiliser. The forum went beyond science; inspiring kids to become scientists and engineers to better the world; celebrating Māori knowledge forged throughout centuries of sustainability, building the business case for sustainability, and empowering the public. The work of the MacDiarmid Institute is at the heart of New Zealand’s burgeoning environmental innovation movement, where confronting climate change can be our opportunity.
Alongside all this, we never forget that the core purpose of the Institute is the work we do training New Zealand’s best students to be the scientific experts the world will need in the future. Many of our students’ stories appear throughout this report — stories of vital research, and of careers that take them beyond us and into the future.
Nicola Gaston and Justin Hodgkiss