Ag-hort scientists missing from latest Rutherford Discovery Fellowships

A quick run through the successful applicants suggests NZIAHS members are absent from the list of recipients for this year’s Rutherford Discovery Fellowships.

The successful recipients of the Rutherford Foundation Trust Awards and James Cook Fellowships, just announced by the Royal Society, similarly make no mention of agricultural or horticultural science.

The Rutherford Discovery Fellowships receive Government funding of $8 million a year and award up to $800,000 over five years to each Research Fellow. There are at least 50 Rutherford Discovery Fellows supported at any one time.

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce, announced the latest winners, saying 10 of New Zealand’s most talented early to mid-career researchers had been awarded Rutherford Discovery Fellowships.

“The Fellowships seek to attract, retain and grow New Zealand’s up-and-coming talent by helping highly-promising researchers establish a track record for future research leadership.

“These researchers are of the highest quality and are working on projects that are of real benefit to New Zealand – from novel antibiotic treatment to seismic hazards to communication systems.”

The recipients for 2016 are:

The Dr Baptiste Auguie, Victoria University of Wellington, for research entitled: Light and chirality at the nanoscale.

Dr Federico Baltar, University of Otago, for research entitled: What makes ‘normal’ normal? Alternative microbial carbon and energy acquisition mechanisms in the neglected high-nutrient low-chlorophyll (HNLC) areas of the ocean.

Dr Adam Hartland, University of Waikato, for research entitled: Unlocking the karst record: quantitative proxies of past climates from speleothems.

Dr Huw Horgan, Victoria University of Wellington, for research entitled: Accelerating Ice – The Role of Water in the Flow of Ice Sheets.

Dr Yoshihiro Kaneko, GNS Science, for research entitled: Structural controls on earthquake behaviour in the Hikurangi subduction mega-thrust.

Dr Jenny Malmstrom, The University of Auckland, for research entitled: Signals to cells when and where they are needed.

Dr Duncan McMillan, University of Canterbury, for research entitled: Biomembrane nanotechnologies for exploring pathogen respiratory adaptation to identify and develop novel antibiotics.

Dr Jeremy Owen, Victoria University of Wellington, for research entitled: Harnessing the biosynthetic potential of uncultivated microbes for the discovery of new antibiotics.

Dr Nicole Roughan, The University of Auckland, for research entitled: Jurisprudence without Borders: A Pluralist Theory of Law.

Dr Virginia Toy, University of Otago, for research entitled: “Weaving the Earth’s Weak Seams: Manifestations and mechanical consequences of rock fabric evolution in active faults and shear zones.

 The Rutherford Discovery Fellowships aim to support the development of future research leaders, and assist with the retention and repatriation of New Zealand’s talented early- to mid- career researchers.  It operates under the Terms of Reference issued by the Minister of Science and Innovation.

Receipt of a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship is expected to have significant value in the future career of a researcher. The Fellowship will:

  • Provide support for ten early- to mid-career researchers each year (as defined by being between three and eight years post-PhD).
  • Support the recipients for a five-year term.
  • Provide competitive funding, up to $160,000 a year.
  • Develop excellent researchers in New Zealand.

Ten prestigious Fellowships of five years in length are awarded on a competitive basis annually, for research based in a New Zealand host institution. The Royal Society of New Zealand is responsible for administering the Fellowships.

The Royal Society of New Zealand-Rutherford Foundation Trust awards aim to build human capability in science and technology by providing early career support for New Zealand’s brightest and most promising researchers. Since its inception in 2008, the Trust has been supported by the Government’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment with $1 million a year.

The trustees, supported by Royal Society of New Zealand executives, have furthermore successfully leveraged co-funding from the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust, the Cavendish Laboratory, the Freemason Foundation and Antarctica New Zealand.

James Cook Research Fellowships are awarded to researchers on the basis of their academic and research records; the applicant’s ability to demonstrate that they have achieved national and international recognition in their area of research expertise; the applicants’ potential to make a contribution of significance in their research field; and, the level of excellence of the proposed research.

The Royal Society of New Zealand this year received proposals from 22 applicants spanning three broad research areas: physical sciences, health sciences, and engineering sciences and technologies. Three assessment panels scored the proposals and four Fellows were recommended for funding.


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