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Four James Cook Fellowships Announced

5 December 2012

Four James Cook Fellowships Announced

Four new James Cook Fellowships have been presented to researchers at the pinnacle of their research careers.

The James Cook Research Fellowships are awarded to researchers who have the requisite qualifications and experience and are able to demonstrate that they have achieved national and international recognition in their area of scientific research.

A small number of prestigious Fellowships are awarded annually. The Fellowships allow them to concentrate on their chosen research for two years without the additional burden of administrative and teaching duties. The funding package annually is $100,000 plus GST and up to $10,000 plus GST in relevant expenses.

The Royal Society of New Zealand received proposals from 27 applicants spanning three broad research areas: biological sciences; physical sciences; and social sciences. Three Assessment Panels scored the proposals and four Fellows were recommended for funding.

The new James Cook Fellows are:
• Biological Sciences: Professor John Montgomery, The University of Auckland, for research entitled: "Evolution of a cerebellum-like neuronal machine";
• Physical Sciences: Professor Robert McLachlan, Massey University, for research entitled: "Geometric methods for the simulation of complex systems";
• Physical Sciences: Professor Colin Wilson, Victoria University of Wellington, for research entitled: "The life and times of supervolcanoes"; and
• Social Sciences: Professor Elisabeth Matisoo-Smith, University of Otago, for research entitled: "The longest journey – from Africa to Aoteoroa".

Dr Di McCarthy, Chief Executive of the Royal Society of New Zealand says, "the James Cook Fellows this year are excellent examples of researchers within New Zealand who are committed to increasing our scientific knowledge and understanding".

"The diversity of the research disciplines covered in the applications is impressive and the approved list of Fellows illustrates the depth of research excellence and leadership in New Zealand.”

Background information

Established in 1995/96, the scheme subsumes two pre-existing individual fellowships. These were the Hodge Fellowship (awarded for research in the social sciences), and the James Cook Fellowship (for science in New Zealand and the Pacific). The fellowships represent one way in which the Government seeks to meet its goals for science and innovation by supporting the development of people with knowledge, skills and ideas.

About the Royal Society of New Zealand
The Royal Society of New Zealand promotes science, technology and humanities in schools, in industry and in society. We administer funds for research, publish peer-reviewed journals, offer advice to government, and foster international scientific contact and co-operation.


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