September 2019

Postgraduate Meeting

The Postgraduate Meeting took place on the 25th September. You can find the associated minutes here (no longer linked). The agenda points included: Strategic Research Grants, Thesis Students Page, ECS Login Registration, Noticeboards, Christmas, International Day of Mathematics, the PGSA Research Excellence Awards. There was a bit of a Q&A discussion around Maru & CO540 too.

The next meeting will be taking place on the 25th October in CO431 from 3pm. Please send any agenda items through to Caitlin.

Strategic Research Grants

Do you have a conference you would like to attend? The Faculty Strategic Research Grant round is now open. This grant is designed to supplement registration, accommodation and travel costs that may be associated with attending these events. Usually we encourage students to present their work at these events if possible, but grants are assessed on a case by case basis. PhD students are allowed to have 2 grants during their time studying with us and Masters students can have 1. The School encourages you to use these applications for overseas conferences if possible. We also encourage you to enquire with your supervisor about additional sources of funding for any events you are interested in. Feel free to send any questions to Caitlin or Ginny if you would like more information on how to apply.

ECS Registration

If you cannot see your profile on the Thesis Students page, you will need to register for an ECS login. To register, fill out the information here. Once this is done, a page will be generated for you overnight, you will then be able to access the edit button at the bottom your profile to add more information.

Having an ECS login will enable you to see other SMS and ECS resources on department pages etc. too.

Congratulations Dr. Seyedvahid Amirinezhad

Earlier this week the department received notice that Seyedvahid's examination had been completed - he has now been awarded the title of Dr., and is now waiting for his qualification to be conferred. While some of you may not have had the chance to meet Dr. Amirinezhad before he finished up in the department, others would have spent some time studying alongside him. His hardwork has paid off and he is now ready to celebrate. The department as a whole - and especially Peter Donelan (his supervisor) are very proud of his achievements.

We look forward to things to come from Dr Amirinezhad.

If you are interested in checking out his thesis (Titled: "A Constraint-Based Approach to Manipulator Kinematics and Singularities"), you can find it here on ResearchArchive.

Christmas Closing Dates

The University has announced the closure dates for the Christmas period. Please make plans and complete any planned tasks in accordance with these dates as staff will be unavailable until we return from the break. From 5:00pm Thursday, 19th December to 8:00am Monday, 6th January the University will be closed.

Student Feedback Wanted

The Government is looking to make changes to tertiary education in New Zealand, but first they need to know what needs to be improved. This page has information on a discussion page presented on ways to enhance the student voice, as well as a link to the survey for your feedback.

Student learning is also looking for feedback on university resources and your user experience with those resources. The survey can be found here.

The University is also looking for feedback on the Accomodation Supplement among Post-Graduate Students - this will be applicable to you if you are a Kiwi postgraduate student receiving a supplement from WINZ. You will find the survey here.

Upcoming Events

MBIE: Endeavour Fund Roadshow - 8 October 9:30am-11:30am Hunter Council Chambers, Hunter Building

MBIE is gearing up for the 2020 Endeavour Fund Round. In preparation for the opening of the round they will be undertaking a series of roadshows in October 2019.

This is your opportunity to find out what you need to know before applying for funding.

Come along and learn more about the Endeavour Fund including:

  • Feedback from 2019 round
  • Impact categories (Protect and Add Value & Transform)
  • Investment signals
  • Assessment process
  • Eligibility criteria
  • Funding available

There is no charge for the Roadshows, but places are limited so you must register.

An Insiders Look: Behind The Scenes at Weta Digital - October 1, 9am-10am, MCLT101

Marc Droske, Head of Rendering at Weta Digital, will be giving a guest lecture. Marc manages a team of researchers and engineers developing in-house rendering technology used in all ongoing movie production. He will give an overview of what modern digital image synthesis has evolved to in terms of the physical models to be solved, the mathematical approaches used, and will explain some of the things that Weta currently finds challenging and some of the open problems. He’ll avoid heavy mathematics and will mostly let the pictures speak for themselves. It promises to be an interesting, entertaining and educational lecture.

All students are welcome to attend this lecture.
Extinction Rebellion - 5-9 October

Following the Climate Strike, there is a "rebellion camp" against extinction being held in Wellington. There will be arts, music, speakers, and training sessions on non-violent direct action, first aid and regenerative culture. If this sounds like something you might be interested in, check out their website and register.

Upcoming Workshops

Risk and Decision-Making Conference - November 13-14 Rutherford House

This conference is organised by the Australasian Bayesian Network Modelling Society and the Society for Risk Analysis Australia New Zealand. The theme of the meeting, risk and decision-making, reflects on the different aspects of risks that our individual societies have addressed in the past and plays on the conference location in Wellington, the capital of and centre of government for New Zealand. However, we’ll address more than governmental decision-making. We aim to bring together researchers, consultants, regulators, and policy-makers to discuss how different aspects of risk analysis underpin responsible decision-making. Weaving in Mātauranga Māori and other First Nation knowledge improves the culturally-appropriateness of these decisions.

Students may qualify for discounts on registration, so please contact

For more information & to register - check out their website.

Presenting research at conferences - October 14 1pm-3pm, Room D07, University of Otago, Wellington

Academic conferences provide an ideal opportunity to keep abreast of developments in the field, to share research within an academic community and to network. In this seminar, we will discuss different types of conference presentations. We will also look at the criteria for selecting conferences and at writing abstracts for conferences. The discussion of academic presentation skills will include preparing your academic speech, audience engagement, preparing your visuals, answering questions and dealing with difficult questions. In order to register for this workshop, please RSVP to Trevor Williams (

FGR Workshops

Shut up & Write

Shut up and Write sessions are run twice a week on Kelburn Campus throughout the year. This is a supportive writing group to help with progress on your thesis. If you would like to attend the Kelburn sessions are:
  • Tuesdays: 2-3pm at Milk & Honey
  • Wednesdays: 9-10am at Milk & Honey
What's The Story? Argument in thesis writing - October 15 2pm-4pm, Clinical Services Block, Room 801, Wellington Hospital

What do you consider the most important part of your thesis? The literature review? Your findings? In fact, the most important part is the story you tell about your project – often called the argument – because this links the different parts of your thesis together coherently. If your argument is not clearly expressed throughout the thesis, your reader can get confused and even lost. In this workshop, we’ll discuss the role of the argument, where and how it might be expressed in the thesis and practise drafting some text to help make your argument more salient. For more information, and to register, click here.

Presenting with Confidence - October 15, 22, 29 1pm-4pm, 77 Failie Terrace, Room 305

This series of THREE practical, interactive sessions will give you the skills and techniques you need to present your research findings clearly and persuasively. Workshop numbers are limited to ensure that each participant will receive direct coaching and feedback from the facilitators and group members. The workshop is limited to participants who can commit to ALL THREE SESSIONS and have some material to practise in front of others. For more information, and to register, click on the links below:
Editing your Writing - October 16 10:30am-12pm, Hunter LT220

This workshop will equip participants with effective strategies for editing their thesis, journal articles and other transactional writing. Starting by considering the purpose of editing, the workshop will cover different levels of editing and strategies for editing. Participants will also have the opportunity to apply some of the strategies to their own writing. Participants should bring a paragraph or two to edit and a can-do attitude. For more information, and to register - click here.

Threshold concepts in learning to be a researcher - October 29 9:30am-12:30am, Murphy 632

In this workshop, we will examine different understandings of research, the concepts that underpin them and ways such understandings can influence candidates' and supervisors' approaches to research. The workshop will consider threshold concepts such as theory and theorising and propose strategies to help address such “troublesome” concepts. For more information, and to register, click here.

What are examiners thinking when they examine your PhD? - October 29 1:30pm-4:30pm, Murphy 632

In this workshop, we will consider how examiners approach the examination of written doctoral theses and what they are thinking as they make their decisions. We will also consider how doctoral examiners are selected and how you might prepare for the oral defence. For more information, and to register, click here.

Award Opportunities

Te Auaha Pitomata New and Emerging Community Researcher Awards 2019

Te Auaha Pitomata – New and Emerging Community Researcher awards are about encouraging and valuing community research and supporting the capability of the Sector. They

are currently seeking nominations for a range of categories for 2019:
  1. Tangata Whenua or whānau ora community researcher (Māori researchers only)
  2. Ethnic and migrant community researcher (Ethnic or migrant researcher only)
  3. Pasifika community researcher (Pasifika researcher only)
  4. Community researcher/evaluator
The applicant will demonstrate a positive influence on the community with their research, community engagement, and collaborative/inclusice research.

For more information, visit their page here.
Port Nicholson Rotary Goal Setter Awards

This award is aimed at students who show a history of goal setting and goal achievement, while contributing service to others (individuals, groups or the wider community) and do so while having to overcome significant barriers. Two or more award winners will receive their awards at the InterContinental Hotel at an award ceremony with the club in March 2020. The winners will receive a $3 500 cash award.

Applications close on 1st December 2019. You will find the application form and more information on their website.

Scholarship Opportunities

The Sir Hugh Kawharu Masters Scholarship for Innovation in Science

This scholarship is aimed at supporting masters level study by Maori students in the Sciences. This scholarship is administered by the Royal Society Te Aparangi and provides $10 000 towards masters level study in the sciences.

Applications close 7th October 2019. Check out this link here to find out how to apply.

MPI Masters Scholarships

In collaboration with NIWA, Fisheries New Zealand is offering masters scholarships. The scholarships were established in 2006 to allow graduate students to develop expertise in quantitative fisheries science in New Zealand. The research undertaken will contribute to quantitative fisheries research programmes with particular emphasis on models for assessing the status of fish stocks or models for assessing marine ecosystems. Fisheries New Zealand wishes to develop this area of research, as there is a shortage of trained quantitative graduates in New Zealand to undertake research and contribute to the sustainable use of fisheries.

The objectives of Fisheries New Zealand/NIWA Graduate Scholarships in Quantitative Fisheries Science are:
  • to attract high performing New Zealand students into quantitative marine science; • to promote and encourage excellence in quantitative fisheries research; • to encourage masters students to contribute to priority fisheries research areas identified by the New Zealand Government;
  • to provide opportunities for students to carry out research with NIWA and/or Fisheries New Zealand scientists in established and new quantitative fisheries research programmes;
  • to train students at the masters level by sharing and using the combined expertise of university academics, Fisheries New Zealand and practising NIWA scientists; and
  • to facilitate the professional development of masters students by exposure to an applied commercial research environment.
The scholarship will fund $20 000 for up to 2 years of study.

If this sounds like you, please contact for more information. If you would like more information on the scholarship, feel free to ask Caitlin for a copy of the information sheet. Nokuthaba has also said she is happy to answer any additional questions regarding the scholarship if you have any.