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Fellowship to strengthen Germany science links

Media Release - for immediate release

Fellowship to strengthen New Zealand - Germany science links

A new research fellowship announced by Ministry of Research, Science and Technology Chief Executive Dr Helen Anderson, will strengthen New Zealand's already significant science relationship with Germany.

The Julius von Haast Fellowship provides for distinguished German researchers to spend up to 12 weeks over a three year period in New Zealand, working collaboratively with their New Zealand colleagues.

"Working with international partners is an important part of how science works," said Dr Anderson.

"When New Zealand researchers work with top scientists from overseas everyone benefits - the researchers, the organisations in which they work, and New Zealand as a whole."

The inaugural Julius von Haast Fellow is Dr Professor Horst Hamacher from Kaiserslauten University. He will be working with Dr Matthias Ehrgott from the University of Auckland to improve the quality of cancer radiation therapy and radiosurgery.

The two researchers hope to decrease the treatment time per patient, thus allowing a better usage of medical facilities.

"The research is likely to benefit both cancer sufferers and radiation therapists," said Dr Anderson.

Professor Hamacher has a vast experience in operations research and has undertaken extensive and world-class work in cancer treatments in recent years.

The Julius von Haast Fellowship is named after Sir Johann Franz Julius von Haast, a German geologist who came to New Zealand in 1858. He spent many years investigating mineral deposits in the Nelson and Canterbury districts and went on to found the Canterbury Museum at Christchurch where he was Director for fourteen years.

The Fellowship is a counterpart to the programmes of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, which support New Zealand researchers to undertake research in Germany.

"The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is one of world's most prestigious academic foundations, so it made sense to align our programme with them," said Dr Anderson.

The idea of a fellowship to support German researchers was first proposed by Professor Terry Healy of Waikato University.

The Ministry was pleased to support the Fellowship as part of its work to promote and strengthen New Zealand's international science links.

The Fellowship is funded through the Government's International Science and Technology Linkages Fund, which is administered by the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology.

The value of the Fellowship is $114 000 paid over 3 years. One new appointment will be made in each of 2004, 2005 and 2006, so there will be three fellows in place each year when the scheme is fully operational.

ENDS

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