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April 7, 2008 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Vic students get big bucks in research scholarships

Four doctoral students from Victoria University have been granted over $350,000 in cumulative research funding in the latest Top Achiever Doctoral Scholarships.

The students – Bronwyn Wood, Adam Day, Matthew Weaver and Phillip Wong – are among the 42 scholarship winners announced this year by the Tertiary Education Commission in funding worth nearly $4.4 million.

Day and Wong have each been awarded almost $100,000 for their respective theses ‘Solving Problems with Randomness’ and ‘Reducing Computational Costs of Genetic Programming.’

Weaver has received over $66,000 to research influences of visual attention, whilst Wood has been given over $97,000 for her research on the role of Social Studies education on New Zealand youth.

Tertiary Education Minister Pete Hodgson described the scholarships as “an important investment in New Zealand’s brightest scholars.”

Phillipa Hay from the University’s Scholarships Office comments that the scholarships “are a confirmation of a successful research environment, as well as a recognition of the merit of the recipient.”

The awards, however, have been a point of controversy with the Auckland Student’s Association (AUSA) expressing concern about the National Party’s line on the independence and autonomy of university research.

They have claimed that National’s Tertiary Education spokesman Paul Hutchison criticised several of the doctoral recipient’s research using the term “mind-boggling.”

“When we have postgraduate students concerned about what politicians think of their research, I think we’re treading a potentially dangerous line.”

[ssba]

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