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Rutherford Discovery Fellowships awarded

Hon Steven Joyce

Minister of Science & Innovation

30 September 2014 Media Statement

Rutherford Discovery Fellowships awarded

Ten of New Zealand’s most talented early to mid-career researchers have been awarded Rutherford Discovery Fellowships for 2014, Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce announced today.

The Fellowships foster the development of future research leaders by providing funding of up to $800,000 each over five years to cover salary and research costs. The funding is administered by the Royal Society of New Zealand on behalf of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

“This initiative seeks to attract, retain and grow New Zealand’s up-and-coming talent by enabling promising researchers to establish a track record for future research leadership,” Mr Joyce says.

“I’m impressed by the calibre of this year’s recipients whose work covers topics of real importance to New Zealand – from health to conservation to optoelectronics. The Fellows have the potential to contribute to positive outcomes for New Zealand throughout their careers.

“The Rutherford Discovery Fellowships are open to excellent researchers who have completed their PhD between three to eight years ago. The Rutherford Discovery Fellowships were established in 2010 and now support 50 Fellows.”

The selection decision was informed by an independent panel, following a two stage assessment process. The new Fellows for 2014 are:

Dr Louise Bicknell, The University of Otago [corrected 5pm 30/9/14 - Scoop], for research entitled: “Investigating the contribution of genetic variation to shaping human disease.”

Dr Alys Clark, The University of Auckland, for research entitled: “Biophysical models to predict markers of health in early pregnancy.”

Dr Francis Collins, The University of Auckland, for research entitled: “Nation and Migration: population mobilities, desires and state practices in 21st century New Zealand.”

Dr Katie Fitzpatrick, The University of Auckland, for research entitled: “Rethinking Health Education and Promotion: Health Capital and Diverse Youth.”

Dr Jonathan Halpert, Victoria University of Wellington, for research entitled: “Novel Nanostructured Materials and Optoelectronic Devices: Solar Cells and LEDs.”

Dr Kim Handley, The University of Auckland, for research entitled: “Who is eating what in coastal marine sediments? Understanding microbial contributions to coastal marine health, stability and ecosystem functioning.”

Dr Michael Knapp, University of Otago, for research entitled: “Evolution and conservation of the New Zealand bird fauna - a genomic approach.”

Dr James Russell, The University of Auckland, for research entitled: “Conservation complexity: scaling vertebrate pest control”

Dr Alex Taylor, The University of Auckland, for research entitled: “The signature-testing approach to the evolution of intelligence.”

Dr Priscilla Wehi, Landcare Research, for research entitled: “Indigenous Ecological Knowledge, Introduced Species, and the New Zealand Environment.”

For further information on the Rutherford Discovery Fellowships visit:

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