August 2020

St Bernards Outreach Underway

After a tough year for outreach, SMS has started a new outreach pilot with St Bernard's College. The pilot has been started as a partnership with Te Herenga Waka Marae to support maori students at the college with their exams. We had hoped to run the programme throughout the year but lockdown put a hold on that plan. We have done a small run of sessions throughout August and into September but hope to do a longer run in 2021.

A special thank you to Malcolm Jones, Virginia Listanti, Pawaneet Kaur, Linus Richter, and Nitay Ben-Shachar for helping out with the tutoring during these sessions.

Open Day

Unfortunately, Open day was cancelled very short notice due to the escalation in alert level. This year the University will be hosting a remote open day with an assortment of videos from each School. We were lucky enough to have Louise McMillan (Mathematics and Statistics), Richard Arnold (Data Science) and Eric Ulm (Actuarial Sciences) all presented the videos to be uploaded for our School. Jasmine Hall also did a Hot Topic talk on her research. These will all be shared once editing is complete.

Thanks everyone who volunteered on the day, hopefully we can give it another go next year.

Postgraduate Seminar

Michal Salter-Duke - Tangles in networks and their application to describing communities (Monday 31st August, 3:10pm - Zoom)

Communities in networks are structurally or functionally distinct subgraphs. They can be disjoint or overlapping, depending upon definition; there are several definitions of communities, and many algorithms to identify them. We present a new definition based on the graph-theoretic concept of tangles, and investigate how well it identifies subgraphs that represent cohesive parts of the network, using two protein-protein interaction networks. This requires the development of an algorithm for finding tangles in graphs. We compare our results with standard methods from the literature based on metrics that use metadata to establish communities. Our results show that tangles provide a different view of communities that complements other methods, although they are computationally expensive to identify.

Zoom ID: 949 4955 6066

Password: vicgrad

If you would like to keep up with upcoming graduate seminars - visit this page.

Upcoming Events

Synapse - Thursday 3rd September 5pm to 8pm Hunter Lounge

Synapse is Chiasma Wellington’s premier networking event, with the opportunity for students to network and find out about the science industry. With networking over free drinks, a panel discussion with local industry leaders, and free pizza, it’s a perfect opportunity to grow your skills and make connections with potential employers. Chiasma Wellington is the capital branch of a national student-led non-profit organisation that fosters connections between university students and the science and technology industries in New Zealand. As the capital branch of Chiasma we cultivate strong relationships with Science Ministries and the many Crown Research Institutes in the greater Wellington region. We nurture STEM innovation, entrepreneurship and inter-disciplinary networking by hosting networking events and workshops throughout the year.

Register for Synapse at:


Chiasma is hosting a series of professional development workshops for our members culminating in a speed-interview event to match our members with companies that can host interns for summer projects.

Chiasma members will be eligible for this event if they attend a set number of our workshops. This approach is to ensure the members we put forward to industry are prepared, enthusiastic and a targeted fit for internship opportunities.

Some workshops we are running:
  • Project management and fitting into the workplace
  • Academic vs commercial research, an introduction
  • Principles of sustainability in business and research
  • Entrepreneurship - IP and science translation
Sign up to Chiasma and like us on facebook to stay updated on our workshops, and please suggest any workshop ideas you think would benefit you and your peers.

6th China International College Students "Internet +" Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition

Innovation and entrepreneurship is a global trend and the lingua franca of the youth worldwide. Young people shape the world’s future and are the mainstay of innovation and entrepreneurship. Faced with the great challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic in this information age, young people around the world should endeavor to enhance people-to-people exchanges, join hands to build an “Internet+” platform of innovation and entrepreneurship, and create a community of shared future for humanity.

This competition only accepts team entries. All participants must enter in teams of 2 to 15 people (team leader included). A team may be formed by members from more than one college/university. All entrants must be core members of the project. Individuals that are enrolled or have studied only at a Chinese college/university are not eligible to participate, but can be a member of the startup team.

All participants must be students who are currently enrolled at a foreign college/university or those who have graduated within the past 5 years. (A foreign college/university refers to a higher education institution that is located outside the People’s Republic of China and is qualified to provide education and award degrees. A student enrolled at a foreign college/university refers to a student that has registered and studied at a foreign college/university and is qualified to receive a degree.) The application should be submitted by the leader of the participating team.

There are 10 prizes and awards up for grabs. For more information, visit the competition website.

Monash University School of Mathematics PhD & MPhil Information Session - Thursday 24th September 2020

Monash University will be hosting an online information session for prospective Mathematics graduates. If you are thinking of future stude in Australia this will be worth checking out. The session will give you a chance to find out how the PhD and MPhil qualifications work, a chance to explore research areas and to see how the campus functions. If you are interested in attending, register on their webpage.

2020 Early Career Researchers Video Competition

This compeition is an opportunity to showcase your awesome rangahau research for the chance to win one of five prizes. To enter, produce your own ataata video that features yourself or your team explaining your research in no more than 3 minutes. The spirit of this competition is to uncover research through story telling from the New Zealand Early Career Researchers and postgraduate hapori communities. We want to communicate and disseminate the exciting research done by Early Career researchers to the public. There are 4 categories to enter and you can enter as a team or an individual:
  • PRO OR NOT: Submitters need to identify if their video competes in the “professional” or “non professional” video category. The video should compete in the professional category if the submitter received support by any individual who has professional skills in making videos, or if professional gear which does not belong to the person submitting the video has been used. These two categories exist to ensure that it does not depend on the gear available or the professional support to win a prize in the video competition and we ask submitters to honestly identify which category their video belongs to.
  • TE AO MĀORI: If you identify as Māori, or you are working on research relating to Māori that is impactful and meaningful to Māori hapori communities, you are also eligible to apply for the Te Ao Māori category.
  • MOANA OCEANIA: If you identify as a Pacific person, or you are working on research relating to Pacific peoples that is impactful and meaningful to Pacific people's hapori communities, you are also eligible to apply for the Moana Oceania category.
Entries close on the 16th October. For more information, visit the compeitition webpage.

Job Opportunities

Land and Water Science Project Support - Statisticians and Data Scientists Wanted

Land and Water Science is an innovative, research-based, environmental consultancy located in Invercargill, New Zealand. Collectively they hold extensive experience in environmental science and resource management gained through research and consulting for and within regional councils, crown research institutes, and universities.Their primary aim is to provide high quality, cost-effective, user-focused scientific services in a range of environmental and earth science fields.

Currently, Land and Water Science is applying for Callaghan Innovations grants to work on some projects and they are keen to have some applied statisticians and data scientists on board. The job will require strong applies statistical and python coding skills. Due to the grant, they are looking for Masters students and above (although an exceptional Honours student will be considered). An initial fixed term position will be offered to the right candidate.

If you are interested, please contact Clint Rissman. For more information on their projects - visit their website.

Funding & Scholarships

Research Excellence Awards

Any postgraduate research student (Masters or PhD) may nominate themselves for an award, valued at $1500.

The awards recognise research by VUW postgraduate students that:
  • Displays academic rigour, excellence, originality, or creativity
  • Advances knowledge in the field or significantly contributes to knowledge
  • Is communicated clearly, in a way that an educated but non-expert audience can understand
  • Has a demonstrated impact within the scholarly, economic, or wider stakeholder communities
There are up to ten awards to be won, with one award offered for each faculty and one (from any faculty) for research that promotes Māori knowledge and development.

The $1500 prize is in recognition of academic excellence, not a grant for further study. As long as you have passed the proposal stage and are currently enrolled at VUW, all postgraduate research students are eligible to apply for an award.

Applicants are required to provide evidence of scholarly research (written or otherwise) in support of their application. Full information on the application and decision-making process can be found on our website.

Prizes will be announced at the Victorias Awards, held in the Hunter Lounge on 27 November. Applications for the Research Excellence Awards close at 11pm on Wednesday 23 September, so take a look at all the information and apply now.

Prime Minister's Science Prizes

These prizes were introduced in 2009 as a way of raising the profile and prestige of scientific research and other projects in New Zealand. There are a variety of prizes from high school level all the way through to career scientists and educators. See below for more infomation on a few of the prizes relevant to our postgraduates. Applications close 5pm on 9 October. Application information can be found here.

The Prime Minister's Science Communication Prize

This prize is worth $75 000. This prize is aimed to either a practising scientist who can demonstrate an interest, passion and aptitude for science communication and public engagement, or to a person who has developed expertise in public engagement with, or communication of complex scientific or technological information to the public.

The Prime Minister's MacDiarmid Emerging Scientist

This Prize is worth $200,000. This Prize will be awarded to an outstanding emerging scientist who has had their PhD or an equivalent qualification conferred within the past eight years.