As part of our mission to build and develop links between science, research and policy, the Office is keen to support and sponsor interns and secondments from research organisations into policy environments. Internships might be with our office, assisting with projects on our workplan, or they might work alongside Chief Science Advisors within ministries on specific projects. We are happy to explore options and opportunities that build the capability for evidence based policy within government, but that also develops an awareness of policy needs and policy impacts for research organisations.
If you are interested in exploring possibilities, get in touch with our office.
Below are some of the past and present interns who have worked with us, and Juliet has also recently talked about interns and developing the better relationship between the research community and policymakers in a recent “Reflections” post: Interns at the Science Policy Interface
Dr David Pomeroy
David has a background in high school mathematics teaching (Tawa and Onslow Colleges) and is now a Lecturer in mathematics education at the University of Canterbury. He attended Cambridge University on a Woolf Fisher scholarship, where he earned his PhD researching socio-economic, ethnic and gender inequalities in the mathematics learning of New Zealand Year Nine students. He was a member of the inaugural Science Policy Exchange and recently published a comparative analysis of UK and New Zealand education policies in Critical Studies in Education. He is interested in building stronger connections between research, policy and practice in education.
David is piloting a model for building closer links between research and policy professionals with common interest and goals. Working under the guidance of Prof Stuart McNaughton (Chief Science Advisor for the Ministry of Education) he is working on a synthesis of research about achieving equity and excellence in mathematics education. The goal is to produce rigorous but plain-language advice to the PMCSA and the Ministry of Education about how more of our young people can enjoy success in mathematics learning.
Dr Tara McAllister
Dr Tara McAllister (Te Aitanga ā Māhaki) did her PhD in freshwater ecology at the University of Canterbury. Her thesis involved examining the environmental drivers of toxic cyanobacterial blooms in New Zealand rivers. She focused on the influence of nutrients and river flow on cyanobacterial growth in order to understand how bloom formation is likely to be affected by agricultural intensification. She is currently a Research Fellow with Te Pūnaha Matatini and is working in association with us to examine the numbers of Māori in science, as an MBIE-based internship.
Dr Akshita Wason
Akshita worked as research analyst during her internship, on secondment from a research role at the University of Canterbury. With a background in biotechnology and science commercialisation, she worked across a broad range of topics, including background research for our rethinking plastics project, our diversity in education work stream, and miscellaneous enquiries from the public. Akshita is pursuing a Masters in Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Auckland and leaves us to join KPMG, Auckland, as a Senior Consultant (Innovation and Growth) in February 2019. Thanks for all your hard work Akshita and we wish you all the best in your exciting new role.
The MacDiarmid Insitute for Advanced Material and Nanotechnology has funded a number of 3 month internships to help build bridges between active research and policy.
Georgina did her PhD in chemistry at the University of Otago and has just recently submitted her doctoral thesis for examination. Her thesis involved investigation into how transition metal complexes interact with light. Understanding the photophysical properties of such materials allows us to understand their potential for application in areas of technology, such as solar energy conversion.
Georgina’s intern project will involve examination of current solar energy use in New Zealand and will also evaluate new, emerging technologies and assess their potential impact on energy use and policy in New Zealand.
I have an educational background in theoretical physics and I obtained my PhD in computational physics/chemistry. I am now a Postdoctoral researcher in nuclear physics, studying the physics and chemistry of the heavy elements.
Besides my interest in understanding the fundamental laws of nature, I am interested in applying my knowledge to environmentally related issues.
The research project will be on the subject of minimizing the carbon footprint by efficient electricity distribution and storage.
I grew up in Nelson and enjoy travel, running, triathlons, and video games. My research background is in protein nanotechnology. I have worked on combining nanoparticles with human proteins to work towards self-assembling manufacturing techniques for next-generation computer processors. I will be working on the technological background to artificial intelligence: talking to people around the country to get an idea of what experts are thinking in this area, and scoping the long term impacts of AI development on New Zealand society and policy.
Jono has a background in physical chemistry and recently finished his PhD involving the study of highly coloured materials.
He will work on ‘insect decline’ and the potential impacts it has for New Zealand industry and biodiversity. Working alongside the Chief Scientists at Ministry for Primary Industries, MPI, and Department of Conservation, Jono will conduct research into the trends and the state of monitoring efforts both nationally and internationally.
Jono is pursuing an analytical chemistry career in New Zealand industry.
Born in India, I moved to the UK in 2011 to do electronics engineering at the University of York. After graduating with an MEng Electronics with Nanotechnology in 2015, I moved to New Zealand. I am currently finishing a PhD in the Department of Physics at the University of Auckland. In my project I have looked at combining principles of engineering, physics, chemistry and biology to study the mechanical properties of soft nanoparticles.
I am a staunch advocate for equity in STEM, and consider myself very fortunate to be able to explore ways to improve that as part of this internship.
With a background of maths and physics, Wayne Crump undertook his PhD in the field of superconductivity. His research investigated the relationship between the maximum electric current a superconductor can pass, and its superconducting properties. His project at the OPMCSA focused on the potential impacts of quantum computing technology, including looking at the potential timelines for its impact on New Zealand industry and society.
Wayne completed his internship in July 2019, and created the two resources below.
Quantum Computing Information Sheet: An accessible, short summary on the state of quantum computing in 2019, what the future might hold, and what that means for Aotearoa New Zealand.
Quantum Computing Resource List: A list of local and international resources related to quantum computing, including general reports on the state of technology, government research programmes, potential policy implications, commercial aspects, post-quantum cryptography, research organisations and cloud services, as of July 2019.