SING USA 2018
Marine-freshwater researcher and educator Jordan Aria Housiaux has received a Summer Internship for Indigenous peoples in Genomics (SING) scholarship thanks to the BioHeritage Challenge.
The SING Alumni Scholarship will take Jordan to a SING workshop in the United States, enabling her to expand her skills and experience. She’s an alumni of SING Aotearoa that was set up three years ago to build capacity amongst Māori in genomics, bioinformatics, ethics, and cultural understandings. It was developed as part of the Vision Mātauranga Capability Fund led by the University of Waikato, University of Auckland and the University of Otago, with support from Nga Pae o te Māramatanga (the Māori Centre of Research Excellence), Genomics Aotearoa and the Science for Technological Innovation Challenge.
Genomics are central to this BioHeritage project that is striving to help threatened New Zealand species become more resilient to future environmental change.
The BioHeritage Challenge is committed to building Māori science capability, and offering undergraduate summer scholarships to indigenous students is one way it is doing this.
Mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) is embedded in all BioHeritage projects, recognising that indigenous insights are vital for guiding environmental conservation in New Zealand.
Including Māori knowledge holders as integral members of our research teams has been enormously beneficial in many BioHeritage projects in the past year, for example:
- it has led to the identification of native plants with the ability to attract and kill the spores of Phytophthora agathidicida – the pathogen causing kauri dieback
- a cultural indicator of kauri forest health has been identified and included in the data collection carried out by citizens fighting kauri dieback
- it has helped develop novel ways to harness knowledge in a contemporary context.