22 May 2019

Meet ENZ’s Think New Grant winner

US student Fox Meyer has received a $5,000 Think New Grant for his research into hydrological sensing in South Dunedin.

Fox Meyer

A Bachelor of Science student at the University of Otago, Fox’s research is looking at how South Dunedin's geology will change over time and respond to dramatic events such as earthquakes – in particular, how the harbour water flow will impact South Dunedin.

“South Dunedin is built on reclaimed land, meaning the land had to be significantly modified by humans to accommodate our support infrastructure and housing,” said Fox. 

“Instead of trying to deny ground water its natural course, I’ve set out to help explain how to balance living in South Dunedin while allowing that water to flow freely beneath our feet.”

Fox’s research earned him a Think New Grant, administered by ENZ. The $5000 grant supports international students working on innovative research or study projects in New Zealand.

Along with his supervisor, Dr Virginia Toy, Fox is planting water sensors in Otago Harbour in order to understand how water flows between the inner harbour and the porous sediments of South Dunedin.

The pair currently have three sensors and will use the grant to purchase more, which will expand the scope of the project.

ENZ’s Chief Executive, Grant McPherson, said Fox’s application was a stand-out entry in a very strong field.

“We had 61 applications, and it was extremely difficult to choose the winner. There was an amazing range of very high-quality applications,” said Grant.

“In order to create a better future for New Zealand, we need new approaches and solutions. Our education system, and Kiwi culture more generally, encourages creativity, innovation and critical thinking – and this brings some exceptional international students here to help us with this.”

A total of 2,732 international students from the US studied at New Zealand universities in 2017, up nine percent on 2016.

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