MIT upskilling New Zealand for a greener future

Manukau Institute of Technology's School of Professional Engineering, along with their NZIST counterparts at Ara Institute of Canterbury, have an essential part to play in preparing transport for a new era of sustainability.

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has announced the Research Trust of Victoria University of Wellington will receive $15 million over seven years to deliver the Advanced Energy Technology Research programme.

New Zealand has the goal of being carbon-zero by 2050. Transportation is the second-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions due to our reliance on tourism and the export sector.

The programme is working towards the electrification of heavy transport including rail, shipping, heavy trucks and planes.

"But this project isn't just Big Science," says Dr Rod Badcock of the Robinson Research Institute. "The HTS-electric trucks, ships, trains and planes of the near future will need skilled tradespeople to service and maintain them."

"Several of the polytechs will educate people with specific skills needed for the technical jobs of the future – Ara Institute, MIT – and Canterbury University. They have a vital role to play," he says.

"These skills will be needed throughout New Zealand since transportation is inherently regional and the new, highly-skilled jobs will pay well," says Dr Badcock.

MIT will be helping to develop courses to train engineers to work with high-temperature superconductors. There will be significant industry involvement in the programme allowing for internship and scholarship opportunities for our students.

"It's very exciting," says the Head of MIT's School of Professional Engineering, Dr Neel Pandey. "It allows MIT to be part of a worldwide research and education network at the forefront of sustainable technology. It's a chance to connect our learners – particularly Māori, Pasifika and other priority learner groups - to the future of transport."

New Zealand cryogenic systems, coolers and containment are already used by NASA and electric aircraft industry with the potential to expand this export industry as technology advances further.

Listen to Dr Badcock talk about the project on RNZ's Morning Report here.