The New Zealand Project Center (NZPC) is one of over 30 Worcester Polytechnic Institute project centers around the world. The WPI Global Projects Program facilitates the operation of these project centers.

Founded in 2013, the NZPC integrates undergraduate engineering, science, and technological education with community needs. NZPC projects are developed around several themes:

  • Human interactions with the natural and physical environment of New Zealand
    • Examples: Flood control in the Hutt Valley, Tsunami awareness in the Wellington region, Earthquakes and historic buildings, Human-wildlife interaction
  • Maori culture and challenges in New Zealand
  • Health care
  • Museums
  • Innovation

The NZPC works closely with sponsors to define the scope or focus of the projects it undertakes. Previous project sponsors have included GNS, Callaghan Innovation, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, New Zealand Department of Conservation (DOC), Zealandia, the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC), Te Kawa a Maui – School of Maori Studies at Victoria University, The Museum of Wellington City and Sea, and the Child Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Network, among others.

We are always looking for new sponsoring organizations that are doing interesting work at the intersection of technology and society – organizations that would benefit from a team (about 4 students) of hard working, independent, and technically-oriented students eager to investigate some interesting challenge and provide a fresh, data-driven perspective. WPI provides housing for the students during their stay in Wellington from mid-January to early March. In addition WPI provides 2 faculty advisors who work closely with the students and sponsors during their stay in Wellington.

From sponsors we ask for a bit of your time (to develop a project description with the Center directors several months before October and to meet weekly with the students and advisors during their stay), a bit of workspace for the student team, and a willingness to cover the cost of student travel should they need to collect data for your project. Note that students are not allowed to drive in New Zealand and typically have to rely on public transportation.

To date, student teams from WPI have completed about 34 projects in New Zealand with 6 additional projects starting in October 2017 (and ending in March 2018). If you are interested in seeing some of the past projects from New Zealand, please go to the Projects page on this website and read through or download some of the past work our students have done.

To learn more about the NZPC or to explore becoming a sponsor, please contact either Mike Elmes (mbelmes@wpi.edu), Director of the NZPC, or Ingrid Shockey (ishockey@wpi.edu), Co-Director of the NZPC.


Professor Mike Elmes Professor Ingrid Shockey
Mike Elmes, PhD Ingrid Shockey, PhD