Otago Daily Times

$17.5m research cash covers coastal threat


RESEARCH on the impact of increased coastal flooding on property prices is among many projects boosted by $17.5 million in Marsden funding to the University of Otago.

The newly formed Climate and Energy Finance Group, led by the Otago Business School’s Associate Prof Ivan DiazRainey, has received $869,000 to explore to how increasing flood frequencie­s will affect property values in New Zealand coastal cities.

‘‘This is an extremely important topic because 65% of the population in New Zealand live within 5km of the sea and 85% of individual wealth is concentrat­ed in real estate,’’ Prof DiazRainey said.

Flooding also had implicatio­ns for the stability of our banks, given that more than 60% of the value of the four largest New Zealand banks’ loan portfolios involved housing, he said.

GNS Science geologist Dr Simon Cox, of Dunedin, has undertaken a recent study of South Dunedin hydrology, and had contribute­d to a pilot scheme for the main study.

The main study would also provide further insights into floodrelat­ed effects on property prices in parts of Dunedin.

Fourteen projects, led by researcher­s in the Otago commerce, health sciences, humanities and sciences divisions received grants ranging up to $960,000, and 16 researcher­s received Fast Start grants.

Vicechance­llor Prof Harlene Hayne said the 30 Otago grants were a significan­t achievemen­t.

The Otago research ranged widely, from Prof Julia Horsfield's $960,000 for research into developmen­tal diseases and cancers, to Prof Claire Freeman’s $729,000 to encourage urban planning that supports childfrien­dly futures.

In total, the Marsden Fund, which supports excellence in research, allocated $84.75 million (excluding GST) for 134 research projects throughout the country.

Other Otago Marsden Grants ($960,000 unless otherwise stated): Dr Karl Iremonger, physiology; Prof Peter Fineran, microbiolo­gy & immunology; Dr Lynette Brownfield, biochemist­ry, $958,000; Dr Louise Bicknell, pathology, $959,000; Prof Julia Horsfield, pathology; Prof Martin Hazelton, statistics, $706,000; Dr H.G.L. Schwefel, physics, $899,000; Prof Martin Kennedy, pathology, $956,000; Prof Claire Freeman, geography, $729,000; Prof Anthony Kettle, pathology; Associate Prof C. Fraser, marine sciences; Associate Prof Joanna Kirman, microbiolo­gy & immunology; Prof Pauline Norris, Centre for Pacific Health, $870,000.

Fast Start, each $300,000. — Dr Kirsty Danielson, surgery; Dr Judith (Jude) Ball, public health; Dr Siew Hoong (Joe) Yip, anatomy; Dr Michelle

Munro, physiology; Dr Dominic Searles, mathematic­s; Dr Karen Reader, pathology; Dr Jemma Geoghegan, microbiolo­gy & immunology; Dr K.O. Smiley, anatomy; Dr G.A. McCulloch, zoology; Dr K.J. Mitchell, zoology; Dr Erica Newman, Te Tumu; Dr L.A. Robertson, preventive and social medicine; Dr Htin Lin Aung, microbiolo­gy & immunology; Dr Karen Greig, archaeolog­y; Dr Kimberley O'Sullivan, public health; Dr Romain Meyrand, physics.

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