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New Zealand Science Teacher

Learning in Science

Summer of science begins for talented students

Plant and Food Research’s Summer Studentship programme combines innovative science with leadership training.

Top science students from around New Zealand are getting a chance to immerse themselves in their favourite subject this summer. Plant & Food Research’s Summer Studentship programme is in its sixth year, with more than 200 students taking part since its inception.

Nearly fifty students from various tertiary institutions have joined in this year and are ready to undertake research projects in their chosen branch of science. Participating sites spread from Kerikeri to Clyde.

The programme allows students to do cutting-edge food science with world-recognised scientists in their workplaces. Plant & Food Research also offers a full induction day, career planning service, and awards ceremony, as well as the actual science work.

The 14-week programme incorporates a special leadership component aimed at developing interpersonal and cooperative skills. 

 “We’ve had great success with our past students, and many return to Plant & Food Research for their postgraduate studies or get jobs with us or the food and land-based industries we partner with,” says Dr Bruce Campbell, Chief Operating Officer of Plant & Food Research.

“It’s important to us to inspire the next generation and to provide them with some of the skills they need to develop their career in science. We’re really pleased to see another group of aspiring and inspiring students – the largest group so far – join us this summer.”

The Leadership Day involves an overnight stay at a marae, where students take part in ‘EQ’ activities and collaborative exercises.

“We’re keen to get students thinking about their role in the workplace and in science. It’s about taking responsibility and not being focused on working as an individual, but more about working as part of a team.”

Students are encouraged to think about what their contribution to the world of science will be, and how they will share that with others.

“Science needs to reach out to the wider world, so science communication is becoming more and more important,” says Bruce.

“Science must make connections with community interests, as well as commercial and end-user groups, so we aim to train our students to consider all aspects of their science career.”

Plant & Food Research’s Summer Studentship programme will see the participants undertaking research in all areas of plant and food science. These include plant genetics, soil and water science, engineering, seafood production and microbiology, insect pest management, and food chemistry.

Image: Students learn more about themselves and their future leadership strengths in the Plant & Food Research Summer Studentship Programme. Credit: Plant and Food Research.

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