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Lucrative scholarships for UC's top achievers

Lucrative scholarships for UC's top achievers

Seven University of Canterbury doctoral students have been awarded scholarships collectively worth more than $500,000 in the latest Top Achievers Doctoral Scholarships round.

The UC recipients are among 42 of the country's top doctoral students who have collectively been awarded $4.4 million to undertake research in a variety of disciplines at New Zealand and overseas tertiary institutions.

The seven UC projects cover a range of areas such as seismic design and resistance, image reconstruction, and drug delivery during heart failure.

Tertiary Education Minister Pete Hodgson says the scholarships are an important investment in New Zealand's brightest scholars.

"It is the critical thinking of our researchers that gives us an opportunity to become an innovation-led country with the skills and knowledge to compete internationally.

"This round of scholarship recipients cover many different disciplines. While some research contributes directly to product and technological innovation, other research assists us to better understand social, economic and environmental problems."

Administered by the Tertiary Education Commission, the scholarships provide support for 36 months of study. They cover a student's fees, in addition to an annual stipend of $25,000 and $3,000 for attending conferences. If the student studies overseas a loading is applied to the scholarship. Their relocation and medical insurance costs are also covered. At the end of the scholarship period students who study overseas are required to return to New Zealand for three years.

One of the UC recipients, Michael Newcombe, says he is over the moon.

The focus of Michael's research is the development of a new construction technique for multi-storey timber buildings. The new structural system is a combination of large solid timber elements and high strength steel post-tensioning, which can be designed for excellent resistance to earthquakes, fires, and other extreme events minimising damage and disruption.

"Although I believed my project had strong merit I knew I would be competing against the best up-and-coming researchers in the country. "The receipt of the scholarship was a surprise and further verified for me that the outcomes of my research will be of interest and benefit to New Zealand."

Another UC recipient, Victor Lo, says he his honoured to receive a Top Achievers Scholarship.

"I have submitted a couple of papers to conferences in the US this year and, if the papers are accepted, the travelling money will mean that I can attend one of them."

Victor is working on the development of new techniques to determine molecular structure. He says if he is successful, the time and cost involved in biomolecular structure determination will be dramatically reduced.


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