3 Into the Communtiy – Annual Report 2017

The MacDiarmid Institute has a long history of supporting sustained community engagement activities by our investigators, from the DiscoveryCamp programme for Māori and Pasifika high school students that has been running since the Institute was founded, to the physics teachers’ workshops developed by Professor Michele Governale and Associate Professor Ben Ruck over the last three years.

The value of these activities is not just the impact they have on the broader New Zealand community, but the experiences they provide our investigators and students.

Our track record is so strong that, at times, it seems there is little space for innovation!

This year, however, our people have once again demonstrated how much more can still be done, particularly through our partnerships with key practitioners in outreach and science communication.

Our outreach efforts are continually enhanced by our partners: NZEI Te Riu Roa (Kōrero with scientists), the House of Science (Nano-Chem box sponsorship), Lab in a Box (a mobile science laboratory, built in a 20 foot shipping container), and The Spinoff online magazine.

These experiences create valuable perspectives on the interface between science and society. It’s precisely this shift in culture that enables us to support more striking, one-off initiatives, such as the Women in Nanoscience lecture series led by Carla Meledandri or the extension of the Korero with scientists programme into regional New Zealand, in cooperation with the Nanogirl Live! stage show created by Michelle Dickinson.

These activities represent a cultural change that sees our researchers acknowledging the importance of community engagement for their own research. More important than any of our individual initiatives in isolation, therefore, is that we know that community engagement is a value that all our alumni will take forward with them out of their time with the MacDiarmid Institute.