The Bid is Gone – YAY – let the doing begin!

The Bid is Gone – YAY – let the doing begin!

Eight months of living and breathing the MacDiarmid Institute Centre of Research Excellence funding proposal to come down to a click of the mouse. Where were the trumpets, the marching band, the ticker tape parade?! Shouldn’t such a momentous occasion be marked with an explosion of lights and fanfare rather than the soft snoring sound of exhausted people? Hmmm I guess it doesn’t quite happen that way, you have to make your own celebrations, which is exactly what we did last week, celebrating our people at our annual meetings. The feeling at those meetings is always overwhelmingly positive and collegial; people from across the country coming together to share and learn – always a very exhilarating experience.

The passion and commitment of the investigators to the MacDiarmid Institute has abounded over these past several months as we have worked together during the planning and writing stages and actively guided our evolution. It really has been very impressive and humbling.

Several people led the effort; David Williams and Alison Downard have been invaluable contributors and supporters, their different perspectives and complimentary capabilities have been put to good use and ensured that our proposal is, in my opinion, extraordinarily strong. The writing team was rounded out by Keith Gordon, bringing his pragmatism and considered thinking. The advisory team of Jeff Tallon, Juliet Gerrard and Simon Hall, gave us their overarching critique of the proposal and gently guided us to consider a range of things, or just hit straight when it was waffly and unclear. Nicola Gaston, Bill Williams, Simon Brown, Justin Hodgkiss and Joe Trodahl worked with Alison in the development of the science plan component of the proposal and of course all of the investigators actually led the development of the science plan through the weeks of forum discussions on our intranet, the three day planning meeting and the rapid email responses when someone in the writing team needed an answer to something.

I thank you all. We couldn’t have gotten such a strong proposal together without your dedication. Your knowledge, that we have created something quite extraordinary in the MacDiarmid Institute and from that, your drive to not only maintain that but capture it and grow it is laudable.

And now that all the planning has been done and the schemes have been set, now the most exciting part happens; the doing and delivering can start.

A number of new initiatives are in their first stages of development; I will highlight just one here today. On Friday last week we signed an MOU with the New Zealand Educational Institute, Te Riu Roa (NZEI). The MacDiarmid Institute and NZEI will work together to build the confidence and competence of primary and early childhood teachers in the field of science; and engender a passion for science and innovation across society. We recently launched our pilot programme Korero with Scientists in Wellington and Auckland, a professional development programme for primary and early childhood teachers, delivered by teachers and scientists working together to enhance the capacity of teachers for delivering and participating in the Nature of Science curriculum. The enthusiasm and hunger of the teachers who have participated in the pilot programmes, to learn more about science, become confident in teaching science and to be involved in science exploration has been quite overwhelming and inspirational. The formalisation of this initiative and partnership was perfectly timed (without any actual knowledge of the announcement to come) to follow the announcement by Ministers Joyce and Parata regarding the new funding support for maths and science for schools including $3m in professional development support for teachers,

This initiative is just one of several that we will take forward as we ensure that we deliver on our vision Science Excellence, Leadership, Inspiration: Advancement of New Zealand.

Have a fantastic weekend everyone – and hello to Meegan – just to show that I do actually write these…