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Rutherford Foundation Awards/James Cook Research Fellowships

Hon Steven Joyce
Minister of Science & Innovation

5 December 2012

Rutherford Foundation Trust Awards and James Cook Research Fellowships announced

This year’s Rutherford Foundation Trust Awards and James Cook Research Fellowships recipients have been announced today by Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce.

The two grant schemes have combined Government funding of more than $1.7 million and are aimed at developing the skills of New Zealand scientists.

“The prestigious Rutherford Foundation Trust scholarships have been awarded to nine of our most outstanding young researchers this year - five post-doctoral fellows who will be working in New Zealand and four PhD students who will be going to study at Cambridge, Oxford and the University of Michigan,” Mr Joyce says.

“The James Cook Research Fellowships are aimed at supporting more experienced scientists who are at the forefront of their fields. Previous fellows have become leaders of science and innovation in New Zealand and I am sure the four fellows this year will also make very valuable contributions”

These men and women are researchers of the highest quality and are working on projects that are of real benefit to New Zealand – from the treatment of osteoporosis, heart problems caused by diabetes, to the future of our resource management,” Mr Joyce says.

“Together, these two schemes grow people with knowledge, skills and ideas and ensure the future of quality science in New Zealand.”

The Rutherford Foundation was established by the Royal Society of New Zealand in 2008. It is supported by $1m from the Government each year along with contributions from the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust, the Freemasons Roskill Foundation and private donations.

The James Cook Research Fellowship was established in 1995, and receives full funding from the Government of $720,000 per year.

The Rutherford Foundation Trust Award recipients are:

Post-doctoral Fellows:

• Dr Peng Du, from the University of Auckland, for research into an Electrogastrogram to monitor the health of stomach muscles
• Jamie Howarth, GNS Science, for research into the history of earthquakes around the Alpine Fault
• Dr Kimberley Mellor, University of Auckland, for research into cardiac dysfunction in diabetes
• Dr Estelle Dominati, AgResearch, for the future of resource management in New Zealand
• Dr Renata Kowalczyk, University of Auckland, research into new drug treatments for osteoporosis

International PhD students :

• Jordan McMahon, going to the University of Michigan where he will conduct research into the field of abstract algebra, which has particular importance in quantum physics
• Thomas Wright, going to the University of Oxford, to study the chemistry of proteins.
• Scott Thomas, going to University of Cambridge, to undertake his PhD at the Institute of Astronomy
• Patricia Larsen, going to the University of Cambridge to complete a PhD in Cosmology

The four James Cook Research Fellows are:

• Professor John Montgomery, The University of Auckland, for research entitled: "Evolution of a cerebellum-like neuronal machine".
• Professor Robert McLachlan, Massey University, for research entitled: "Geometric methods for the simulation of complex systems"
• Professor Colin Wilson, Victoria University of Wellington, for research entitled: "The life and times of super volcanoes".
• Professor Elisabeth Matisoo-Smith, University of Otago, for research entitled: "The longest journey – from Africa to Aoteoroa".


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