$2 million for STEM projects that unlock our nations’ minds

Published: 28 November 2019

The government has today announced $2 million in funding to support 31 projects across the country aimed at engaging more New Zealanders in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Helen Sillars, Specialised Investments Manager at the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, says Unlocking Curious Minds plays a critical role in supporting New Zealanders to learn about and engage with STEM.

“Engaging Kiwis in science, and in particular, those who have fewer opportunities to do so, is one of the best ways to develop the skills needed to tackle 21st century problems and engage in debate about science and technology issues,” says Helen.

“Science, technology, engineering and maths shape much of our lives and these exciting projects support learners to understand as well as question how to use the knowledge that STEM activities produce.”

Some of the 2020 successful Unlocking Curious Minds projects include:

  • University of Canterbury – Partnership to encourage Māori and Pasifika communities into Engineering.
    This programme will engage Māori and Pasifika children through challenging and innovative activities in areas such as robotics, renewable energy, rocketry, electronics and programming. The programme engages whānau and combines talent from community groups, public libraries and educational organisations.
  • Otago Museum Trust Board - Far from Frozen II – Going to Extremes.
    This project builds on the highly successful Far from Frozen climate change showcase, expanding to include impacts in the southern oceans. The new showcase will include virtual reality headsets and a portable 360-degree dome with a focus on what we can do now to act on climate change.
  • Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi – RoboPā.
    RoboPā 2020 provides Māori learners with practical activities that help transform complex STEM concepts into easily understandable learnings. The project is developed on the understanding that cultural practices and frames can be powerful drivers of educational success.

“All of this year’s successful projects are of the highest calibre and will engage local and national groups in a diverse range of STEM activities across topics such as Health Sciences, Earth Sciences and Mātauranga Māori,” says Helen.

Unlocking Curious Minds offer grants of up to $150,000 for a region-wide or national project, and up to $30,000 for a local or community project.

The list of the 31 projects receiving funding is on the Curious Minds website(external link)