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Rutherford Discovery Fellowships awarded

Steven Joyce

17 SEPTEMBER, 2015

Rutherford Discovery Fellowships awarded

Twelve of New Zealand’s most talented early to mid-career researchers have been awarded Rutherford Discovery Fellowships for 2015, 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.

“These fellowships consistently draw a high quality of applicant. The research proposed by this year’s recipients has the potential to provide real benefits to New Zealand in areas from laser technology to the impacts of drought.

“Excellent science like this has positive outcomes that go well beyond New Zealand’s science system. It contributes to our social and environmental wellbeing and drives innovation – a key component of the Business Growth Agenda.”

The new Fellows for 2015 are:

• Dr Jane Allison, Massey University, for research entitled: “Deciphering molecular choreography.”

• Dr Peng Du, University of Auckland, for research entitled: “A joint experimental-modelling strategy for translational gastrointestinal electrophysiology and motility.”

• Dr Miro Erkintalo, University of Auckland, for research entitled: “Lighting up New Zealand: Next-generation laser sources for scientific and industrial applications.”

• Dr Nicholas Golledge, Victoria University of Wellington, for research entitled: “Modelling the response of the Antarctic ice-sheet to a warming world and its contribution to future sea-level rise.”

• Dr Annette Henderson, University of Auckland, for research entitled: “Born and raised to cooperate: Identifying how experience shapes our cooperation foundation.”

• Dr Cate Macinnis-Ng, University of Auckland, for research entitled: “Thirsty forests under future climates: impact of drought on native ecosystems.”

• Dr Troy Merry, University of Auckland, for research entitled: “Beta-catenin facilitates skeletal muscle glucose transport and pancreatic beta-cell insulin secretion.”

• Dr Kevin Norton, Victoria University of Wellington, for research entitled: “Are the hotspots cold? Using the world's fastest forming soils to measure the contribution of weathering and erosion to global climate stability.”

• Dr Geoff Rodgers, University of Canterbury, for research entitled: “Ground-shaking research: Damage-free buildings and novel seismic monitoring methods for resilient cities.”

• Dr Emma Scotter, University of Auckland, for research entitled: “The theory of (not quite) everything: The neglected role of the blood-brain-barrier in motor neuron disease.”

• Dr Logan Walker, University of Otago, for research entitled: “Preparing for the future of genomic medicine.”

• Dr Gwenda Willis, University of Auckland, for research entitled: “What stops convicted sex offenders from reoffending? Developing a strengths-based framework for sexual violence prevention.”

The full complement of Rutherford Fellowships was reached with the 2014 appointments. This year’s appointments anticipate the completion in 2016 of the 2010 inaugural Fellowships.

The Fellowships are open to researchers who have completed their PhD between three and eight years ago, and are selected by independent panels.

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