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MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology

30 October 2023

The MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology is a network of researchers who create innovative, sustainable materials. We work with industry and government to address global challenges such as clean water, renewable energy, and climate change. Learn about the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology.


Te Mana Tangata Whakawhanake - Leadership to Innovate Sustainable Materials

We are a network of leading researchers united in a common goal: to create and explore innovative, sustainable materials that will improve the lives of people in Aotearoa and around the world.

We work together and partner with industry and government to address global challenges such as clean water, renewable energy and climate change.


About Us

The MacDiarmid Institute pulls together passionate and committed investigators from seven institutions across Aotearoa who combine their expertise to find new ways to positively transform people’s lives.

The institutions include five of New Zealand’s universities - the University of Auckland, Massey University, Victoria University of Wellington, the University of Canterbury and the University of Otago - along with government innovation agency, Callaghan Innovation, and GNS Science, the country’s leading provider of Earth, geoscience and isotope research.

Learn more about us...


What We Do

Humankind is faced with unprecedented challenges such as climate change, depletion of finite resources, disease, and environmental pollution.

At the MacDiarmid Institute our investigators and students employ materials science and nanotechnology to investigate new ways to address these challenges.

The call for advanced materials has never been louder and our scientists are responding to that call. Our research will create new technologies to aid the transition to a more sustainable way of life. We want to make our world a better place for our grandchildren and their grandchildren.



Our People

Our people are an investment in New Zealand’s future – a team of the country’s best scientists, engineers and educators united in a common goal: to make, understand and use new materials to improve people’s lives.

Emeritus Investigators

Principal Investigators

Associate Investigators

Postdoctoral Fellows

Science Executive

Governance Representative Board

International Science Advisory Board


Management, Strategic, and Professional Staff


Our Research

Bringing together materials science, physics, chemistry, biology, engineering and mātauranga Māori allows our investigators to make breakthroughs in the unchartered areas where these disciplines meet.

From printable solar panels and rare earth superconductors to handheld gene testers, intuitive stem cell therapy, and wearable UV detectors, our innovations have real world applications that will transform how we live.

Our research also offers the country economic value and provides uniquely exciting opportunities to educate the next generation of entrepreneurial scientists, along with the wider community.


Advanced materials

These are simply better versions of traditional materials. They are more suited to the task they need to do, whether that is being better at conducting electricity or being more scratch-resistant or absorbing more solar energy.

At the MacDiarmid Institute, materials scientists work together to create new materials that advance technology and develop products that solve big problems and make our lives easier.



It is the study and application of extremely small things. Everything on Earth is made up of atoms - the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the buildings and houses we live in, and our own bodies. Nanotechnology gives us the ability to see and to control individual atoms and molecules. It is conducted at the nanoscale, which is about 1 to 100 nanometres. One nanometre is a billionth of a metre, or 10-9 of a metre. To put this in context, a sheet of newspaper is about 100,000 nanometres thick.

Our investigators are using nanotechnology to advance medical technology, stem cell research, energy efficiency and many other applications.


Research programmes

All our research is organised into four research programmes:

Towards Zero Waste - Reconfigurable Systems

Towards Zero Carbon - Catalytic Architectures

Towards Low Energy Tech - Hardware for Future Computing

Sustainable resource use - Mātauranga Māori Research Programme

Our research programmes explore aspects of advanced materials science and nanotechnology and link researchers and students across biology, physics, materials science, mātauranga Māori, engineering and chemistry. 

Multidisciplinary collaboration is the most important factor in every research project undertaken at the MacDiarmid Institute. Projects are less about a lead researcher’s ‘pet interest’ and more about many people working together across disciplines to really make a difference. Such collaboration is the key to a science-based economy.

This team approach also offers a myriad of opportunities for the next generation of leading scientists and entrepreneurs to gain experience in unique research.


Vision Mātauranga

Vision Mātauranga: Unlocking the Innovation Potential of Māori Knowledge, Resources and People is a policy framework that was implemented into Vote Research, Science and Technology in July 2005.

It was developed by the Ministry for Research, Science and Technology in consultation with research funders, researchers and research users including Māori communities.

The framework is designed to assist research funders, researchers and research users when they consider research of relevance to Māori – particularly its distinctive aspects – and how this might be supported through Vote Research, Science and Technology.

The MacDiarmid Institute is fortunate to have three Principal Investigators to guide us within the Vision Mātauranga framework:


Our Partnerships

The MacDiarmid Institute has ongoing partnerships with many inspiring organisations and individuals throughout Aotearoa to help us share science and a passion for discovery with others.

These partnerships take science out of the lab to make it hands-on, useful and inspiring.

The aim is to generate a nationwide culture change where science and innovation are celebrated as the keys to New Zealand’s future prosperity. We need new generations of committed scientists who can explore novel ways to address technological, societal and environmental challenges.

Bringing science to life for young people and their families will hopefully create the passionate investigators of tomorrow.

House of Science


The Spinoff


Other partnerships

History of partnerships


Join Us

Materials science and nanotechnology are key to solving the big problems of our time, such as climate change, and the MacDiarmid Institute is New Zealand’s premier research institute focused in this area.

Working with our teams of leading scientists opens up a wide range of opportunities for those who join us as students or investigators.

These include involvement in vital world-class research, start-up companies, industry collaborations, local and central government projects, and developing innovations to improve people’s lives.

Opportunities offered to our students include:

  • Three to six month industry internships in government agencies, NGOs or industry
  • Annual multi-day workshops on specialist topics such as communication, commercialisation and leadership
  • Intensive annual multi-day bootcamps (held in remote and beautiful locations) where experts share their knowledge in an important current research area
  • Public engagement events, working with school teachers or children
  • Membership of the MacDiarmid Emerging Scientists Association (MESA), run by students and postdocs, which organises additional activities.

Our alumni are working throughout New Zealand, as well as all over the world, making a real difference in their chosen areas of research.

PhD scholarships

Masters scholarships

Becoming an Investigator

Postdoctoral Fellowships

Business scholarships


Scholarships for Māori and Pacific Island students

Learn more about The MacDiarmid Institute

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