Waikato University seeks summer research students for sun, sea – and wine

If you fancy spending the summer watching the waves at Raglan, or sunbathing for several hours a day, or even sampling fine wines – all in the name of research, then a University of Waikato Summer Research Scholarship may be for you.

Alternatively, you might like the idea of using artificial intelligence to create a sprinkler that uses no unnecessary water, or looking at the feasibility of extracting collagen from eggshells for use in the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries.

Or perhaps investigating the fungal diversity associated with mummified seals in Antarctica is more your thing.

Ten-week summer research scholarships are available for all these topics and many more under the university’s Summer Research Scholarship Scheme.

The scholarships are worth up to $5,000 and students complete their research over the summer study break.

Applications are open to undergraduate and first-year Masters students from anywhere in NZ.

Dr Karin Bryan of the Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences is looking for a student to help with a video wave monitoring project at Raglan aimed at analysing flooding and erosion patterns.

The student will compare video measurements with on-the-ground measurements of water levels in the surf zone and beach face erosion.

Another science project on offer will look at a new pathway for carbon dioxide production. It’s not just microbial activity that causes decomposition of organic material in soils; direct sunlight can also cause the release of carbon dioxide from soils.

Under the supervision of Associate Prof. Louis Schipper and post-doctoral student Susanna Rutledge, the student will examine the process of photodegradation, as it’s called, and test the different factors that control the rate of carbon dioxide production.

One condition of the project is that all the experiments must be conducted at midday when the sun is at its height.

Electronic engineering professor Dr Jonathan Scott is looking for a student with a good sense of taste (and an understanding of electronics) for a project on using electric fields to accelerate the process of maturing fine wines.

With the help of technicians and a glassblower, the student will be asked to build a machine using wood, plumbing and an audio amplifier to process wine samples.

Altogether 107 student research projects are being offered across all of Waikato’s schools and faculties.

Applications to the School of Science and Engineering and the School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences close on 31st August, 2009; for other subject areas the closing date is 30th September, 2009.

For more details of the projects and for an application form, visit http://www.waikato.ac.nz/
research/scholarships/current/#SummerResearch


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