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Students contribute to CRISiSLab research into experimental peer-to-peer earthquake sensor network

Teams from Wellington high schools this Wednesday (14 September) will demonstrate their own unique earthquake alert system in the final of the CRISiSLab Challenge to kickstart a potential career in disaster managementStudents from Te Kura Māori o Porirua taking part in last year's CRISiSLab ChallengeThe competition is organised by the Joint Centre for Disaster Research of Massey University and funded by Toka Tū Ake EQC to encourage young people into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and demonstrates how technology can support disaster management.

The competing teams will be inspired by last year’s winners, Ben Hong and Zade Viggers from Wellington College, who completed a month-long internship with CRISiSLab and subsequently recruited as research assistants.

In their new roles, Hong and Viggers have contributed to the development of a sensor network for a high-profile earthquake early warning project with some of Aotearoa New Zealand’s leading scientists.

“It is amazing to see what gets achieved during the challenge and to think what could be brought forward in the future of technology and earth sciences,” says Dr Marion Tan, leader of the CRISiSLab Challenge.

“We need more young people in science and disaster management. They’re the next generation of scientists and the link between innovation and our future preparedness,” says Dr Tan.

This year’s challenge wraps up with students demonstrating their earthquake alert systems in front of peers from a range of Wellington schools and a panel of judges.

Toka Tū Ake EQC’s Chief Resilience and Research Officer, Dr Jo Horrocks says that giving our young people exposure, experience, and the opportunity to learn about the technology behind our sciences opens the door to a world they may not have thought about yet.

“We’re excited to support such an important initiative that gives our young students access to some of New Zealand’s most renowned seismic experts. I’m looking forward to seeing what the students come up with this year,” says Dr Horrocks.

Last year, students blew judges away with their performance and ability to overcame difficulties through teamwork and innovative, effective, and detailed earthquake alert systems.

Among the 11 colleges that participated in this year’s challenge, seven colleges made it to the second and final phase. They include Wellington High School, Paraparaumu College, St Patrick’s College, St Mary’s College, Samuel Marsden Collegiate School, Te Kura Māori o Porirua, and Taita College.


More information about CRISiSLab:

  • The CRISiSLab (Crisis Response and Integrated Simulation Science Laboratory) is a research and learning laboratory based in the Joint Centre for Disaster Research (JCDR), Massey University, Wellington.
  • CRISiSLab’s mission is to contribute to advancing technology-driven solutions in crisis management. It also supports students and researchers from multiple universities and agencies to study the design, implementation, and evaluation of technological tools for crisis management.
  • Find out more about this year’s challenge at link)