The MacDiarmid Emerging Scientists Association (MESA) was formed in 2010 to expand the opportunities available to MacDiarmid Institute PhD students and postdoctoral researchers. It works to improve networking among them and establish a sense of community.

MESA provides a valuable role in the management structure of the MacDiarmid Institute, acting as a hub for our emerging scientists. MESA was an initiative of our emerging scientist cohort and is a representative grouping encompassing all PhD and PDFs supervised by MacDiarmid Institute Investigators. MESA actively initiates and delivers a range of workshops and seminars, creates and delivers on outreach opportunities and networking, and works with the Director and Deputy Directors to help deliver on initiatives such as the new Industry Internships and the commercial scoping projects. The Chair of the MESA Committee is a member of the Science Executive; this together with the formal structure and function that MESA have adopted, offers an outstanding avenue for developing leadership throughout our membership.

The MacDiarmid Emerging Scientists Association (MESA) is passionate about creating connections and fuelling interaction between our students, postdocs, and industry. We’ve teamed up with Enspiral to bring you MESA Connect, a tool designed to allow you find MacDiarmid Institute students/postdocs around the country. Use MESA Connect to discover students and postdocs who may be experts in certain experimental techniques, possess key knowledge about specialised software or simply to browse the database to see who the emerging scientists in New Zealand are. Contact mesa@mesa.ac.nz for inquiries/profile updates.

MESA Bootcamp 2015 This years annual MESA Bootcamp focused on the frontiers of research in Light, a theme inspired by UNESCO’s International Year of Light (2015). As emergent researchers in the Physical Sciences, who better to explore the role which light has in our technological society than the members of MESA? The bootcamp is traditionally held in a remote part of New Zealand to facilitate bonds between the attendees and speakers who came from major Universities across the country. This year’s bootcamp was held in Kaikoura on the east coast of the South Island, and didn’t disappoint. It provided the perfect mix of calm and beautiful surroundings to really get stuck in to the topics presented and engage in some interesting and exploratory scientific discourse. Some of the topics included ultrafast laser spectroscopy, plasmonics and optical antennas, optical tweezers, and micromachining using pulsed femtosecond lasers. A more hands on approach was also taken with discussion of the role that light research and technology can have in outreach programs, with the group working together to produce open sourced optical setups, from simple photometers to the beginnings of a raman spectrometer. The MESA bootcamp is a place where MacDiarmid students and postdocs can come together to develop their knowledge base in certain fields, and forge lasting connections that will help to build strong bonds between the research groups involved. The 2015 Bootcamp was no exception, and we look forward to seeing the collaborative science that emerges from this experience. Leo Browning