Summer Research Scholarships

Summer Research Scholarships offer a unique opportunity for external organisations, academics & students to work together in research over the summer trimester.

Third year students or above, interested and skilled in research, could spend the summer supporting a research project and earn a valuable scholarship.

Summer Research Scholarships offer a unique opportunity for students to gain experience in research and get an insight into what studying for a research degree entails. Each Scholarship gives a student the experience of working with established researchers in an area of interest to them, under the supervision of an academic staff member or a research team.

2018/2019 Summer Research Scholarship projects

FMCG consumer perceptions in South East Asia

Scholarship code: 508
Sponsored by: New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and Victoria University of Wellington

Research into consumer attitudes towards fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) products to get insights into the potential of, and appetite for, New Zealand products in south East Asia (SEA).
Tasks: Insights into SEA consumer attitudes towards FMCG products. Secondary market research sources identified; Primary market research methodology described. Secondary data collected; Primary research conducted. Data analysis and final report.
Skills required: Student who has experience in secondary and primary market research.
Location: Wellington (or Auckland)

Assessing the impact of technical barriers to trade frameworks in trade agreements in facilitating New Zealand's trade

Note: this project is for two Summer Scholars
Scholarship code: 503
Sponsored by: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and Victoria University of Wellington

Technical barriers to trade (TBTs) are measures that regulate the manufacture, sale or trade of goods but also create a barrier to the trade of those goods. A barrier could be the imposition of additional costs of compliance for an exporter, additional time to market or restrictive measures that prevent or hinder an exporter's access to market. As part of MBIE's commitment to evaluate TBT frameworks -- particularly those frameworks negotiated in our free trade agreements (FTAs) -- and their impact on trade, we are commissioning a research project to develop and test a methodology that MBIE can use to evaluate TBT frameworks in the future. The methodology will identify the information, data and research required to evaluate the outcomes of TBT chapters in particular trade agreements, and identify the assumptions involved in these evaluations. The research will be focused initially on analysing the TBT outcomes of the NZ-Korea FTA.
Tasks: A tool, methodology or process for evaluating the outcomes of TBT chapters in New Zealand's FTAs. Information, data and factors for analysis identified and collated. Analysis of the effectiveness and value of the different types of data/factors, using the NZ-Korea FTA outcomes. Compilation of the outcomes of analysis of NZ-Korea FTA outcomes as a proof of concept; and final report.
Skills required: Research, data analysis, writing, critical thinking and innovation.
Location: Wellington, but with possibility of extramural

Changing ASEAN consumption and import demand

Scholarship code: 504
Sponsored by: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Victoria University of Wellington

The successful applicant will be required to research changing consumption and import demand in Association of South East Asian Nation (ASEAN) member countries. MFAT is particularly interested in ASEAN demand for imported services and high value-added goods. Research findings will help inform trade policy, specifically options for improving the scope of the Australia ASEAN New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA).
Tasks: Research findings will help inform trade policy, specifically options for improving the scope of the Australia ASEAN New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA). Describing how consumption patterns have changed in ASEAN over the last ten years and what this means for the regions imports of high value goods and services. This should be done for the individual ASEAN countries. Identifying the key drivers behind changing consumption, and what this implies about future consumption and import demand. Tying this into trade policy and the AANZFTA: where should trade policy focus to ensure New Zealand traders are able to capitalise on changing ASEAN demand.
Skills required: Communication, particularly writing and analytical skills.
Location: MFAT offices in HSBC Towers Wellington

The rise and wane of social clubs

Scholarship code: 505
Sponsored by: The Wellington Club Inc. and Victoria University of Wellington

The Wellington Club is the oldest social club in Wellington. Members of The Wellington Club pay an annual subscription to enjoy the services provided at the club. The Club wishes to understand how other similar clubs across the globe are tracking on their membership, and how they maintain interests of their members and gain membership subscription. The summer scholar will help in a literature search on the trends and determinants of memberships of social clubs, identify mechanisms put in place for membership subscription, and assess the feasibility of membership subscription mechanisms for the Club.
Tasks: The outcomes will be literature around memberships of social clubs, in particular around determinants and trends; an understanding of the trends of memberships in other similar clubs; an understanding of what other similar clubs are doing to gain membership; and assess feasibility of some of such mechanisms for the Wellington Club, and final report.
Skills required: Ability to do rigorous literature search, intermediate quantitative skillset (familiarity with Excel essential, other quantitative tools a plus).
Location: Victoria Business School

From guesswork to empirical evidence: Is it time for a reality check in consumer law policy?

Scholarship code: 512
Sponsored by: Victoria University of Wellington

Policymakers and judges use their common sense and intuition to define and interpret standards such as the "reasonable expectations" of the "average consumer". This study will argue that by using common sense and intuition, rather than empirical data, courts make mistakes. The successful applicant for this scholarship will help to refine the research framework, interview 30 consumers about their perceptions and analyse these interviews.
Tasks: The scholar will assist in (1) the development of the conceptual framework/research design; (2) conducting interviews; and (3) analysis.
Skills required: The scholar should have a basic understanding in law, and will be taught to conduct interviews.
Location: Victoria Business School

The long-term governance of genomic data

Scholarship code: 513
Sponsored by: Victoria University of Wellington

The project is a systematic literature review and meta-analysis on the governance of informed consent for the collection of genomic data that might permit future (and currently unknown) uses of the data. The final report will point to ways this topic can be investigated in the future and could lead to a more extensive academic study. Genomics (precision medicine) is only beginning and it needs early adopters to become key researchers. Those who understand the collection and curation of genomic data could have a career in the field of health informatics.
Tasks: Largely, a literature review of all available documents on ethical issues, specifically informed consent, involved in the collection of human genomic data. This can be broadened to cover all human tissue, etc.
Skills required: Literature searching. Some understanding of the concept of informed consent is desirable, though this can be supplied through the supervisor.
Location: Victoria Business School

Evidence for utility of genomic data in clinical practice in primary care

Scholarship code: 514
Sponsored by: Victoria University of Wellington

Play your part in the precision medicine revolution. Precision Medicine, based on genomic research aims to improve the efficiency of the health system through a better understanding of how people’s genetic makeup is linked to their lifetime health risks. It is also able to predict treatment outcomes, but the science is at an early stage and is not yet routinely used in clinical practice. Your research will identify the state of the art in genomic data research and enable you to develop methods of interpreting genomic research for application in health informatics.
Tasks: Find the literature. Critically appraise the relevance of the literature to the project. Synthesise it around an accepted framework. Interpret and analyse the literature using an appropriate framework to identify research gaps, e.g. the lack of a widely accepted ontology.
Skills required: Literature searching, particularly of government documents related to utilizing genomic testing for the improvement of the efficiency and effectiveness of national health systems. Familiarity with Schryen’s guidance for writing IS literature reviews.
Location: Victoria Business School

India in 2030

Scholarship code: 509
Sponsored by: Ministry for Primary Industries and Victoria University of Wellington

Described by the IMF as "an elephant starting to run", the Indian economy is the third largest by purchasing power parity, and the fastest growing economy in the world. Given this, it is important that New Zealand understands the opportunities that this will create for agricultural products in India. The Ministry for Primary Industries is looking for a summer scholar to assess these opportunities.
Tasks: A report on the opportunities that the growing Indian economy presents for New Zealand's primary industries. An assessment of the future growth of the Indian economy, with a focus on populations, GDP, and agricultural production. Analysis of the product categories in which India is likely to remain a net importer, with a focus on goods that New Zealand exports. An assessment of the trade status of identified product categories, looking at trade barriers, global prices, international competition, etc., and recommendations for how this could be improved for New Zealand producers.
Skills required: An academic background in commerce, with a preference for economics or international business or an academic background in international trade or trade law.
Location: 25 The Terrace, Wellington

Accounting for wellbeing

Scholarship code: 515
Sponsored by: Victoria University of Wellington

This research project will design and undertake a survey of CFOs in the public service to explore their understanding of the challenges associated with the Government’s proposals to develop a more integrated framework for planning and reporting New Zealand’s economic, social and environmental wellbeing.
Tasks: Initial meetings with The Treasury. Define and agree the survey questions. Construct and send out the survey. Receive and analyse the results.
Skills required: The scholar will learn something of the structure and functions of the public service together with the practical processes associated with the development and implementation of government policy. The scholar will also gain experience of using a survey to conduct research.
Location: Victoria Business School

Design science research as a pathway to open science in IS

Scholarship code: 516
Sponsored by: Victoria University of Wellington

Academia is at a crossroads, where the amount of research being conducted is increasing, but often this research is not accessible to all levels of society. The open science movement aims to overcome this problem. The information systems discipline has not escaped this problem, where a pathway to conduct open science has not yet been paved. However, design science research (DSR) may provide an opportunity to do this. Thus, this research project is looking to understand whether the open science approach is a good fit with DSR. This will consist of conducting a literature review, building a framework of where open science can fit into the DSR process, and writing an academic paper to communicate this.
Conduct a literature review. Build a framework. Write a draft academic paper.
Skills required: How to search for relevant literature. Reading academic literature. Building frameworks from concepts identified in the literature.
Victoria Business School

Rethinking IT and digital capabilities for small and medium organisations

Scholarship code: 517
Sponsored by: Victoria University of Wellington

In the digital age, organisations increasingly move from seeing IT as a separate entity to treating IT as integrated business technology which requires dedicated top management attention. The proliferation of Cloud and Everything-as-a-Service means that the importance of traditional IT management capabilities, such as those for maintaining an IT infrastructure, diminishes. Small and medium organisations (SMOs) face additional challenges because they may never have had the resources for a dedicated IT function, but many will need to develop their digital capabilities to remain competitive in a digital future. Against this backdrop, the goal of this project is to rethink traditional ways of conceptualizing IT and digital capabilities with an emphasis on SMOs.
Tasks: Conduct a structured research literature review on IT and digital capabilities. Critique the current state of the literature and develop a digital capability model suitable for small and medium organisations (SMOs). Prepare an interview guide for validating the digital capability model for SMOs. Support the acquisition of suitable interviewees and participate in the first interviews (if there is time).
Skills required: An understanding of the potential, role and the management of IT in organisations, excellent analytical and critical thinking skills, good communication skills (oral and written), basic MS office skills. Desirable: Work experience in small or medium organisations, first interview experience and/or experience using research databases.
Location: Victoria Business School

The effect of sibling composition on personality

Scholarship code: 518
Sponsored by: Victoria University of Wellington

Are people with brothers more competitive than people with sisters? In this research project, we want to learn how having a brother, a sister or no siblings at all affects a person’s personality. For this, we need your help. You will be responsible for the search of surveys that contain information on siblings composition and personality traits and manipulate the survey data so that it can be analysed. After this, you can test using regression analysis how the sibling composition relates to a respondent’s personality. To be successful, you need to work with the statistical software Stata. A basic understanding of Stata should be enough -- you can learn the rest on the job.
Tasks: Identify all surveys worldwide that contain information on a person’s sibling composition and their personality traits. Download and prepare survey datasets so that they can be analysed. Do a preliminary analysis of the relationship between siblings composition and personality.
Skills required: Thoroughness. Basic knowledge of Stata (including merging datasets). Basic understanding of statistics.
Location: Victoria Business School

How can the SUNZ committee best support SUNZ members

Scholarship code: 507
Sponsored by: SAS Users NZ (SUNZ) and Victoria University of Wellington

Develop a plan for the best ways of engaging with SUNZ stakeholders, identifying what interests them and delivering to that using the most appropriate cost model available to a not for profit organisation.
Tasks: SUNZ committee will be having high value engagements with SUNZ stakeholders. Develop a stakeholder engagement/event plan (sponsors and members, etc.) based on focus group and key interviews. Identify opportunities and barriers to engagement and how to remove the barriers where possible. Develop a funding model against the stakeholder engagement/event plan.
Skills required: Marketing and an understanding of the analytics area.
Location: Wellington

Fiscal fan charts

Scholarship code: 500
Sponsored by: The Treasury and Victoria University of Wellington

This project would develop fiscal fan charts for all major fiscal variables -- revenue, expenses, operating balance, cash balance and net debt -- using historical forecast errors. This would be done by developing a new dataset of historical fiscal forecast errors, statistical analysis of the historical forecast errors and developing a fan chart methodology (analysing forecast errors and selecting appropriate distribution to characterise forecast uncertainty).
Tasks: Create forecast errors and build fancharts for key fiscal variables. Understand the properties of the forecast errors. Investigate methodologies for building fancharts using forecast errors. Compile forecast errors for fiscal variables of interest. Survey the literature on producing fancharts using forecast errors. Construct fancharts using the forecast errors.
Skills required: Macroeconomics, time series econometrics, some programming would be an advantage.
Location: The Treasury

Nutrition information seeking in pregnancy

Scholarship code: 519
Sponsored by: Victoria University of Wellington

This study takes a services marketing perspective to investigating pregnancy healthcare decisions. Health information seeking, critical to health decision making, is significant for pregnant women as they make decisions related to a new life situation. Alongside traditional forms of health information-seeking activities for a majority of pregnant women, the Internet will be a major source of information and an integral part of their decision making. Summer Scholarship work for this study will involve a systematic literature review of health information seeking in pregnancy with a particular emphasis on nutrition information. The literature will be analysed according to key themes in a spreadsheet and a summary report prepared.
Tasks: The required outcomes will be a systematic literature review of nutrition information seeking in pregnancy. This will involve identifying appropriate databases; identifying key search terms; justifying inclusion criteria for the literature to be reviewed (within the summer scholarship time constraints). Having identified the articles to be reviewed, the literature will be summarised according to key themes agreed with the supervisor, and presented in a spreadsheet form accompanied by a summary written report.
Skills required: Interest in Healthcare Services and healthcare services marketing. Ideally, the Summer Scholar will have some knowledge in the area and have undertaken either a healthcare services marketing or social marketing course/s at SMIB, or BHealth courses offered within the Faculty of Health.
Location: Victoria Business School

Border control and intellectual property: NZ Customs as interpreters and enforcers of IP law?

Scholarship code: 520
Sponsored by: Victoria University of Wellington

New Zealand Customs has had the ability to detain goods allegedly infringing trade marks or copyright since 1994. In undertaking this function, Customs must act as an interpreter and enforcer of trade mark and copyright laws. This raises a myriad of issues, as intellectual property is a highly technical area of law, where infringement is heavily fact-dependent. This project seeks to quantify the extent to which Customs has used its power, and to examine how Customs determines infringement and the outcomes of Custom’s investigations.
Tasks: The scholar will undertake information gathering, by talking to Customs, filing Official Information Act requests (as necessary) and locating relevant literature and case law through online legal databases.
Skills required: The student should be a 300-level law student or commercial law student, with a keen interest in intellectual property and the regulatory role of non-Courts.
Location: Victoria Business School

Media insight: Building a product that answers questions about news and social media

Scholarship code: 502
Sponsored by: McNamara Research and Victoria University of Wellington

Media analytics and insight: we tell government and business what the value and meaning of their news is, and if their PR worked. News and social media searchability using Al, and as a second stage building an app to visualise findings.
Tasks: Research and test best possible news and social media sources for our project. Applying machine reading to a text case of three topic areas. Visualising the findings to the stage of building a beta product.
Skills required: Analytical ability and critical thinking, understanding of word searching for content analysis and creating samples, applying machine reading to these samples.
Location: One Market Lane Building, 12 Taranaki St. Wellington

Rotary New Zealand's centennial, 2021: A network of the Industrial Era updates itself for an era of digital disruption

Scholarship code: 506
Sponsored by: Rotary Club of Wellington and Victoria University of Wellington

Assist research for a centennial history of Rotary New Zealand, a 'social enterprise' established in 1921 and which has 260 clubs and 8000 members. This is an opportunity to work with a professional historian to create a wiki which will capture historical records to assist with a centennial book. It will build on previous summer scholarship work focused on a history of the oldest club, Wellington Rotary.
Tasks: Assist development of an on-line archive with histories from a cross section of clubs of projects in areas such as education, social services, environment, international aid and vocation related subjects. The historian, Dr Stephen Clarke, is writing a national history of about 80,000 words, due by late 2020 and has established a 'wiki' format to capture information about clubs and themes. The priority will be to assist 20 clubs to create histories which illustrate how other clubs can proceed. Papers Past and archives of Rotary magazines are likely to be major sources of information. A majority of clubs will be near Wellington to make it easier to work with club representatives.
Skills required: Analyse historic media reports and club records to prepare succinct case examples of initiatives by clubs. Engage volunteers from among the 20 clubs to assist retrieval of information not available through public archives. Summarise findings for publishing through the wiki. The centennial history will highlight the contribution of business-assisted philanthropy for New Zealand communities and university subjects of potential relevance are management, information management, marketing, public policy, New Zealand history, geography, sociology and political studies.
Location: Victoria Business School, with visits to clubs in the Wellington region.

Tourism insights

Scholarship code: 510
Sponsored by: Hutt City Council and Victoria University of Wellington

Spend your summer hanging out on beaches, trails and in cafes talking to visitors and understanding what's appealing to them. Collaborate with Lower Hutt's new city promotion team to create a collection of visitor insights resources for local business and Hutt Valley destination marketers. Lower Hutt's tourism sector is approaching a million visitors per year with new events and facilities, increased exposure and growth in spending. There's a new dynamic to understand, and we want to know more about what our visitors are doing to and how we can improve their experiences.
Tasks: Plan of research methodology, sampling and data sources. Develop materials for survey and/or collection methods. Analysis and report compiling insights. Online resources collection of tourism/visitor insights for local business.
Skills required: Top interpersonal/communication skills and ability to interact with a range of people from business owners or motel operators to visitors at the beach or café goers. Strong analysis skills to prepare reports and present insights. An organised self-starter who can maintain a flexible approach to methodology as success of approach is refined.
Location: At various locations throughout Lower Hutt, while based at the Hutt City Council offices

He tāngata, He tāngata, He tāngata: Understanding and supporting capability development

Scholarship code: 521
Sponsored by: Victoria University of Wellington

The objective of this summer scholar project is to develop a case study of a capability development programme run by an iwi trust. People are central to growth in the Māori economy, and capability development refers to developing organisational and individual capabilities. Interview data and additional relevant data and documents will be used to develop a case study exploring the challenges and successes of this capability development programme, forming a basis for a wider study across the sector. The scholar will be well supported to develop a literature review, help analyse interview data and contribute to developing the case study.
Tasks: Under our guidance the scholar will develop; a literature review of workforce and capability development in the Māori and indigenous space; contribute to analysis of transcribed interviews; contribute to analysis of relevant documents and additional data; support development of a case study of the capability development programme.
Skills required: Literature search, summary, and thematic review. Analysing interview data. Report writing.
Location: Victoria Business School

Mapping Zealandia’s visitors

Scholarship code: 511
Sponsored by: Zealandia and Victoria University of Wellington

Visitors to Zealandia can explore more than 32 kilometres of track, stop at over a dozen lookouts or viewing areas, take a sealed path for an hour’s gentle stroll or spend a whole day exploring the wilder reaches of the valley. Where are they going? What are they finding? Where are they stopping? This research project will help us answer these questions, and enable us to effectively plan the future development of Zealandia's track and interpretation pathways.
Tasks: Track visitor journeys throughout Zealandia ecosanctuary. Confirm research methodology, carry out primary research and report on findings.
Skills required: We’re looking for a student with an interest and expertise in tourism or outdoor recreation who wants to explore visitor research, qualitative research, and visitor development. They will need strengths in statistics, data gathering and evaluation, and be confident and enthusiastic in working with the public.
Location: Zealandia Ecosanctuary, Waiapu Rd, Karori, Wellington.

Family firms and acquisitions: Current state of knowledge and future research

Scholarship code: 522
Sponsored by: Victoria University of Wellington

This project will examine the acquisition strategy and behaviours undertaken by family firms. Specifically, it seeks to understand why and how family firms differ from non-family firms in terms of employing the strategy, and what family firm characteristics can influence their acquisitions, which relates to the heterogeneity of family firms. The student will have the opportunity to experience the early stage of developing a research project. He/she will work closely with the academic staff to gain a comprehensive understanding of the relevant literature, and learn to derive conceptual frameworks to address research inquiries.
Develop fundamental knowledge on family firms and acquisition strategy. Collate journal articles on family firms’ acquisitions. Learn to identify research gaps by examining the literature. Conceptualise selected topics relating to family businesses’ acquisitions.
Skills required: Able to read academic journal articles and write academically. Critical thinking and a strategic mind-set. Hard working and punctual.
Location: Victoria Business School

The following projects are located within other Faculties, but Victoria Business School students are welcome to apply.

Emerging leaders programme: An evaluation of a four-year programme to support emerging leadership in the library, information and museums sector

Scholarship code: 404 (Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences)
LIANZA's Kōtuku leadership development programme (Aotearoa) was developed to support leadership development in the library and information sector began in 2015 and was extended to museums in 2018. What impact has the Kōtuku Emerging Leaders Programmetuku Emerging Leaders Programme made on the personal and career development of participants? How effective has the Kōtuku model been? This is your opportunity to engage in research that will make visible the outcomes of the programme and impact on future leadership development. This research project will give you the chance to engage with some senior leaders in the library and museum sector to gain their views and to learn more about leadership needs, challenges and opportunities. This research evaluation has the potential to lead to further post-graduate research and also to present the evaluation at library and museum conferences.
Supervisors: and

A survey of tertiary student mental health

Scholarship code: 127 (Faculty of Science)
Surprisingly little is known about the mental health of university students in New Zealand. This project comprises part of a larger cross-University Programme of research and action around understanding and supporting mental health at Victoria University of Wellington, and will involve (a) a survey of research and practice literature relating to university student mental health, and (b) developing, conducting and analysing an online survey of student experiences and wellbeing.

Supervisors: and

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