University hosts one and a half CoREs

$210 million fund encourages brains, photons and quantum science

The University of Otago has been selected to host one of six national Centres of Research Excellence (CoRE) and will co-host a second CoRE with the University of Auckland, following a Government announcement. Both the Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonic and Quantum Technologies (Otago) and Brain Research New Zealand - Rangahau Roro Aotearoa (Otago and Auckland) were selected to join the ranks of the country’s top research facilities.

Established in 2001, The CoRE fund provides operating expenditure of nearly $210 million over six years, starting next year and continuing until 2020. It aims to encourage the development of excellent tertiary education-based research. Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne said that the new CoREs were a “clear indication” of Otago’s excellent research standing. “Otago has many research strengths in a diverse range of fields and this strength has been underscored by the CoRE announcement,” Professor Hayne says. She said it was “particularly exciting” to see that the University had been given key leadership roles in two very different areas - photonics and quantum science and brain health. “Both of these CoREs will bring us into closer working relationships with other New Zealand universities and research institutes, and the sharing of ideas and energy across the sector will be of great benefit to the country.”

Associate Professor David Hutchinson, a theoretical physicist from the Department of Physics, will direct the Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonic and Quantum Technologies. “The Centre’s research centers around photonics, the manipulation of light at the most fundamental, quantum level, and the control and manipulation of matter at the atomic scale, through the use of light,” Associate Professor Hutchinson says. He said the research has “potential real-world applications” and will generate fundamental knowledge about the composure and behavior of the physical universe.

Professor Cliff Abraham will co-direct Brain Research New Zealand – Rangahau Roro Aotearoa – alongside Distinguished Professor Richard Faull of Auckland University. The national partnership said their vision was to provide a “truly national, collaborative response” to the issue of ensuring people age well with a healthy brain, especially when direct costs of these disorders are estimated to be over $1 billion per year, and rising by over five per cent per year. “The mission of Brain Research New Zealand is for our scientists, clinicians and the community to work together to unlock the secrets of the ageing brain so that we can develop new therapies and better clinical and community care to enhance lifelong brain health,” say Professors Abraham and Faull.
This article first appeared in Issue 11, 2014.
Posted 3:11pm Sunday 11th May 2014 by Nina Harrap.