What is the Participatory Science Platform?

All New Zealanders should feel encouraged and equipped to deal with the challenges and opportunities presented by science and technology, and be capable of participating in the debates involving science. We also need an environment that helps New Zealanders to use our natural curiosity to interrogate, decide on and make the most of new developments and technologies.

The Participatory Science Platform (PSP) is an initiative that aims to engage communities of all kinds in research projects that are locally relevant and have robust science/technology outputs with quality learning outcomes.

It brings together the three key action areas outlined in the plan A Nation of Curious Minds – He Whenua Hiriri I Te Mahara.

Dr Victoria Metcalf is the National Coordinator for the Participatory Science Platform.

The Participatory Science Platform is an initiative under the Curious Minds Scheme, and encourages communities and scientists to work together on collaborative scientific or technological research projects. Funded projects not only have scientific value, but are also relevant to local concerns and provide excellent teaching and learning opportunities for those who get involved.

The Participatory Science Platform has been piloted in South Auckland, Taranaki and Otago since 2015 and Victoria oversees all of the regional activities, providing a national coordination and support point between them and the management of the platform.

Victoria also liaises closely with other Curious Minds activities and is actively involved in communicating the stories of the PSP projects to the public.

As part of her OPMCSA role she is also the Country Coordinator for GLOBE, NASA’s long running international science outreach programme.

Ice fishing at McMurdo.

Victoria has a background as a marine biologist and geneticist with interests in fish and shellfish. With a particular love of cold places, most of her research has been on Antarctic marine life and the effects of increases in temperature, ocean acidification and pollution. She’s travelled to the Antarctic seven times.

In addition she is a committed, passionate science communicator, making use of a wide variety of formats to engage with a range of audiences from young to old.

Victoria has a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Otago. She conducted postdoctoral research at UMaine, in Maine, USA as well as at the University of Canterbury and subsequently held a position as a Lecturer in Genetics at Lincoln University for a number of years.

You can find her on Sciblogs at http://sciblogs.co.nz/icedoctor/ and at http://sciblogs.co.nz/curious-and-curiouser/ and on Twitter at @VicMetcalf_NZ .

Curious Minds

Go to the Curious Minds web page

Photo: Matt Walters, University of Canterbury


  Phone: + 64 9 923 6318

Mailing Address

Office of the Prime Minister's Chief Science Advisor
The University of Auckland
Private Bag 92019
Victoria Street West
Auckland 1142
New Zealand