Discovery Scholarships Programme’s first commercial co-sponsor

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Discovery Scholarships Programme’s first commercial co-sponsor

15 April, 2024

We are delighted to announce Spirax Sarco New Zealand as the first commercial co-sponsor for our Discovery Scholarship programme.

Spirax Sarco is a UK based international engineering firm, which has operated in this country for 40 years, helping NZ manufacturing industries and hospitals within their Steam Systems. Spirax Sarco co-sponsor the scholarships for the next three years. The Discovery Scholarship programme, currently in its fifth year, supports Māori and Pacific Island students studying in the fields of physical sciences, materials engineering, chemical and process engineering, Māori sciences and sciences related to sustainable innovation at tertiary level in New Zealand.

Spirax Sarco picture 7 Dec 23 Christchurch

Representatives from the MacDiarmid Institute and Spirax Sarco at the MacDiarmid Institute Annual Symposium in Christchurch, 7 December 2023. Left to right: Associate Professor Harris (MacDiarmid Institute Deputy Director Māori); Christopher Probert (Spirax Sarco South Island Sales Rep); Kirsty Doyle (MacDiarmid Institute Strategic Manager Māori); and Sharon Shah (Spirax Sarco National Sales and Service Manager).

We’re thrilled to have Spirax Sarco come on board as a co-sponsor for the Discovery Scholarships. It’s awesome to have a large international engineering company keen to improve diversity in engineering and engineering related sciences.

Associate Professor Pauline Harris Deputy Director Māori The MacDiarmid Institute

Spirax NZ General Manager, Fabiano Gatto, said: "Empowering minds, bridging futures: Together, we sponsor diversity in engineering sciences, providing a pathway for Māori and Pacific students to embark on a journey of innovation and excellence."

The Discovery Scholarships programme was set up five years ago by the MacDiarmid Institute and is based on research conducted by Deputy Director Associate Professor Pauline Harris that identified gross under-representation of Māori and Pacific students enrolled in STEM subjects and found that this under-representation became worse through post-graduate and PhD-level studies. The scholarships cover NZ university fees up to $8,000 and a one-off cash award of up to $3,000 for each successful recipient. The programme has supported nearly 60 students in the years 2020-2023 inclusive (decisions on scholarships for 2024 are currently in progress).

Associate Professor Harris said the aim of the MacDiarmid Institute Discovery Scholarships was to increase representation and participation of Māori and Pacific Island students in the sciences at tertiary level. "These scholarships were created to reduce barriers to entry and provide a support network in a space that can often be lonely for our students.  This additional sponsorship will enable us to sponsor up to another three students each year," she said.

There are several scholarship areas that can be applied for:  

  • Te Kainga Rua Award - Second Chance Learner Award
  • Piki Ake Award - Step It Up Award
  • Te Taumata Award - High Achiever Award
  • Te Mātauranga Pūtaiao Award - Māori Science Award

Recipients are then eligible to apply once for the Te Huarahi Ki Mua Award. This category is for students who have been previous recipients of a Discovery Scholarship Award and are continuing their study in a relevant field (This is the only award previous recipients will be eligible to apply for and can only be awarded once to each recipient).

The scholarships offer not only financial support, but wrap-around support and mentoring, through Facebook, in-person meetups and one to one support. Recipients are also offered other opportunities through being a part of the Institute’s network, such as regular meetups with other scholarship recipients and other Māori and Pacific Island students studying in similar subject areas, the chance to attend conferences in New Zealand and overseas, connections with prospective employers, opportunities for summer internship work and more. See these videos to hear from some of our previous Discovery Scholars:

Spirax Sarco joins current co-sponsor GNS Science (whose sponsorship is funded through the Strategic Science Investment Fund (SSIF) Advanced Energy Technology platform). The scholarships have previously been co-sponsored by BioProtection Aotearoa.

Empowering minds, bridging futures: Together, we sponsor diversity in engineering sciences, providing a pathway for Māori and Pacific students to embark on a journey of innovation and excellence.

Fabiano Gatto Spirax NZ General Manager