From the Former Director

Professor Kathryn McGrath held the position of the Director of the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology from July 2011 to June 2015. She was a MacDiarmid Principal Investigator from 2002-2015 and is now an Emeritus Investigator for the Institute. She became Vice-Provost (Research) for VUW in January 2015.
Her reserach interests include how organisms grow their hard tissue—skeletons, teeth, shells—with potential uses including better hip replacements.  
Her blog deals with a variety of topics, ranging from the state of the institute to politics or the science environment in New Zealand.


Over … And … Out

Next week I am stepping down as Director of the Institute, having taken up the role of Vice-Provost (Research) at VUW in January this year, so this is my last Update. No more desperately trying to come up with something interesting, informative, hopefully occasionally thought provoking and maybe even evocative and controversial every couple of […]


Thank you to our Deputy Directors

Professor Alison Downard is stepping down as our Deputy Director Stakeholder Engagement at the end of this month having held the position for two years. During this time Alison has played an incredibly important role. She came into the position at a very crucial time in the history of the institute, just a couple of […]


Our new Emeritus Investigators

Quiet week this week, no controversy, think I did enough of that last time. This week it is time to shine the light on others. But first THANK YOU to the huge number of people I know and don’t know who contacted me and thanked me for speaking out on issues that they believe need […]


Government funding… Tight, tighter, tightest!

We keep trying to get ‘it’ right: Government funding in a limited resources environment. Some recent things have highlighted just how tight things are really getting in the area of Government funding; reviews and refreshes are taking place, but meantime we all have to deal with functioning in a seemingly ever tightening resource environment. With […]


What gets measured, gets done… What then is a meaningful set of KPIs?

Not everything that is valuable can be measured so how are these things included via an evidence base? You hear it a lot, and there is plenty of evidence out there to show, that if you set a numerical target for something, measure and monitor it then lo and behold you’ll achieve it. Why? Well […]


Vision Mātauranga: partnering to create a new tomorrow

Last year, thanks to the initial work and foresight of Desi Ramoo, we began a relationship with Nihi Houia and Ron Hough of Ngā Hononga Marae (Charitable) Trust in Whanganui. Nihi and Ron visited us in Wellington and then in turn welcomed us in Whanganui. Very quickly it was evident that they shared our vision […]


Getting Ready for Market: what role science and scientists?

We maybe think this doesn’t or shouldn’t pertain to us as scientists but in fact we get ready for market all the time; what makes us believe that expanding our market in order to make available the outcomes of our work to so-called end users is any less worth our time and efforts, any less […]


What are the right career demographics?

And exactly how do you successfully succession plan? These two things might seem somewhat connected but not necessarily that they go totally hand in hand, but based on everything that I have been involved with lately, consideration of these two and working to get them right seem paramount for capturing (and assuring???) success today and […]


What is a PhD? How do we ensure it is fit for purpose for researchers, businesses and society?

The PhD degree has been around a very long time. Has it evolved appropriately to ensure that it is really delivering for the future needs and employability of our students, our research and education communities, the national and international business communities and more broadly society as a whole? There was a time when, for the […]


Governance Boards for Research Grants: really the best way to use our resources and people?

Blog Friday 27 February 2015 Funding in the research sector has significantly changed over the past few years and more change is to come. One thing that is rapidly becoming a constant across all of this change, however, is the requirement/proliferation of “Governance Boards”. Right now we have 11 Centres of Research Excellence and in […]


MacDiarmid Institute’s Seventh International Conference Huge Success

This past week we have been in Nelson hosting our seventh international conference, attended by over 500 delegates and superbly organised by our Principal Investigator Shane Telfer (Massey University) and his team. In addition to the hundreds of science presentations we have been involved in a range of outreach activities during the week. This tradition […]


Things anew

Welcome back everyone. I hope that this finds everyone in good health and feeling revived and inspired following the Christmas and New Year period.  We’ve started the New Year with some big changes and advances placing us in a position of strength as we head into our third contract supporting our work in the institute. […]


Thank you, Farewell, Welcome and a Challenge

Last week was the final meeting of our current Board with several of our Board members leaving us. Steve Thompson our Board Chair is stepping down after five years in the role. He is joined by Jane Harding (University of Auckland), Charles Daugherty (Victoria University of Wellington), Fred Samandari (University of Canterbury) and Roger Ridley. […]


The November Crush: the season of national meetings/conferences/symposia

A call for all of us (including Government Ministries and Agencies) to rethink our annual calendars In the last two weeks I have been to the MacDiarmid Institute’s public forum A Place to Live, the Institute’s Annual Investigators’ meeting in parallel with our Annual Student and Post-doc Symposium, the first ever cross-CoRE meeting and the […]


Does our future rely on our presence offshore?

Over the weekend on Q&A ( the Minister for Tertiary Education, the Hon Steven Joyce, as we all knew he would, and clearly sooner rather than later, started to expand on and more fully articulate his plans for change, growth and diversification of New Zealand’s tertiary education sector and in particular universities’ need to do […]