11 new Rutherford Discovery scholarships awarded

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Eleven early and mid-career researchers received Rutherford Discovery Fellowships which will help them accelerate their research careers at Aotearoa.

The research programs of the new scholarships cover a wide variety of interesting topics, including:

• Use te Ao Māori approaches to co-develop scientific narratives of pūrākau in order to facilitate the guardianship and conservation of kaitiakitanga through genomic research of endangered species.

• Develop low cost and environmentally friendly solar cells made entirely of organic compounds to increase the energy efficiency of generating electricity from the sun.

• Use citizen science online to conduct large-scale studies to understand how the human mind perceives and produces music, and why music appears across cultures with such remarkable diversity.

One of the members of the selection panel, Professor Clemency Montelle, is herself a former Rutherford Discovery Fellow and knows first-hand the value of a scholarship. Professor Montelle said: “Receiving a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship is tremendous recognition. This is a substantial investment in individuals to intensively pursue their world-class research programs at a critical stage in their careers. But beyond that, it’s an opportunity to be part of a very special group of young New Zealanders who are not only deeply ambitious for their discipline, but also very determined to have a deep and substantial impact on Aotearoa, its international reputation and the well-being of its people.

The Rutherford Discovery Fellowships aim to attract, retain and develop New Zealand’s most talented early and mid-career researchers and support their career development by helping them build a track record for future research leadership.

The Chairman of the Rutherford Discovery Fellowships 2021 Selection Panel, Professor Vic Arcus, said the Rutherford Discovery Fellowships are “unique”.

“They provide this diverse group of extraordinary researchers with the most valuable commodity: time – considerable time to focus on their research and to expand and strengthen their networks and connections, for the benefit of New Zealand and the world.” “

The Royal Society Te Apārangi manages the Rutherford Discovery Fellowship program on behalf of the New Zealand government. The Rutherford Discovery Fellowship program receives government funding from the Department of Business, Innovation and Employment of $ 8 million per year and awards $ 800,000 over five years to each researcher. There are at least 50 Rutherford Discovery Fellows supported at any one time. This year, the scholarship helps bring two applicants back to New Zealand to establish successful research programs.

For 2021, the recipients of the Rutherford Discovery Fellowship are:

· Alexandre alexandre (Te Hikutu, Ngāpuhi), University of Otago, for research titled “Creating purakau of past, present and future conservation impacts using genomics”.

·
Htin Lin Aung, University of Otago, for research titled “Patient and Community Centered Health Care Service Development: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Bridging the Health Inequalities Gap”.

·
Amanda Black, Lincoln University, for research titled “From Genomes to Giants: Restoring Resilient Soil Ecosystems in Kauri Forests”.

· Chamberlain of Calum, Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington, for research titled “Investigating the Variability of Earthquake Nucleation Mechanisms in New Zealand”.

· Kelly dombroski, University of Canterbury, for research entitled “Transitioning to caring economics through transformative community investments”.

· Jessica lai, Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington, for research entitled “Patents and Power: A Critical Analysis of Knowledge Governance”.

· Khoon Lim, University of Otago, for research entitled “3D bioprinting of functional vascular networks”.

· Samuel mehr, Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington, for research entitled “Psychological and Cultural Foundations of Music”.

· Sereana naepi, University of Auckland, for research titled “Planning for Change: An Analysis of Neoliberalism, Equity and Change in Higher Education”.

· Michel Price, Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington, for research titled “The Physics of Next Generation Solar Panels and Light Emitters for Sustainability”.

· Justin Rustenhoven, University of Auckland, for research titled “Clearing the Brain Drain: Increasing Meningeal Lymphatic Dysfunction in Aging and Neurodegenerative Diseases to Alleviate Cognitive Decline”.

More information on new Rutherford Discovery Fellows and funding cycle statistics are available at royalsociety.org.nz/RDFs.

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