4 May, 2022
Despite the ongoing challenges from the Covid pandemic, 2021 was a year of new directions and growth for the MacDiarmid Institute.
We embarked on a new research plan organised around four programmes exploring different aspects of materials science for sustainability. Each of these programmes and some of the people contributing to them will be introduced in this report.
With these new research directions comes further renewal of our people. A number of PhD students have already begun their projects in our new programme, and we welcomed 14 new investigators to our ranks in 2021. These new investigators add breadth and depth to our interdisciplinary programmes – spanning from theoretical materials science to neural engineering – as well as building our cohort of Māori and Pacific researchers. We invite you to read their profiles in this report.
Beyond our research programme, we have much to highlight from strategic activities of the Institute.
Our Discovery Scholarship programme for Māori and Pacific students continues to grow and strengthen thanks to an energetic and engaging cohort of existing scholars, along with new support for additional scholarships from other organisations. Alongside their studies, many of our Discovery Scholars have undertaken research projects with MacDiarmid Institute researchers, and shared their journeys, including through a series of public-facing video profiles.
Support for people is a thread that runs through all of our other strategic areas highlighted in this report, whether growing tech entrepreneurs, involving PhD students in a radio series, or providing career stepping stones via internships in local industry.
This year we farewelled Board Chair Paul Atkins who stepped down to take up the position of Chief Executive of the Royal Society Te Apārangi. Paul has always been a staunch supporter of us bringing more Māori and Pacific Island researchers into the Institute, and always gave enthusiastic support both for the Institute’s sustainability focus and for its people. Long-time MacDiarmid Institute Board member Hēmi Rolleston, from Ngāti Whakaue, Te Arawa, Ngāi Te Rangi and Ngāti Ranginui has been appointed as our new Board Chair. Hēmi is a respected and highly capable leader with extensive experience in the science and commercial world of innovation. He also brings genuine and meaningful relationships with Māori communities, scientists and business people.
Nicola Gaston and Justin Hodgkiss