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Next generation of research leaders

5 October 2017

Next generation of research leaders: 2017 Rutherford Discovery Fellowships announced

Ten early­ to mid-career researchers have been awarded Rutherford Discovery Fellowships that support them to accelerate their research careers in New Zealand.

They will seek answers to questions such as: How can we better track the population of threatened species? What makes cancer spread around the body? How do we constitutionally recognise and accommodate the rights of indigenous people globally?

The fellowships seek to attract, retain and grow New Zealand’s most talented early- to mid-career researchers and support their career development by helping them to establish a track record for future research leadership. Many of the new fellows will be returning from overseas to take up these fellowships.

Chief Executive of Royal Society Te Apārangi, Dr Andrew Cleland FRSNZ, says these high-potential individuals have a great opportunity to be part of the next generation of research leaders for New Zealand.

“We are excited to follow the career path of these researchers and to hear what they discover and how they develop over the next five years, whilst supported by their fellowship.

“The fellowships allow them to build on their skills and networks to establish themselves as world class research leaders based in New Zealand.”

The Rutherford Discovery Fellowships receive government funding of $8 million per annum, and award $800,000 over five years to each Research Fellow. There are at least 50 Rutherford Discovery Fellows supported at any one time.

Royal Society Te Apārangi manages the fellowships programme on behalf of government.

For 2017, the Rutherford Discovery Fellowship Recipients are:

Dr Emma Carroll, The University of Auckland, for research entitled: Family matters: developing close kin mark recapture methods to estimate key demographic parameters in natural populations.

Associate Professor Claire Charters, The University of Auckland, for research entitled: Constitutional transformation to accommodate Māori in Aotearoa/New Zealand: Lessons from around the globe.

Dr Aniruddha Chatterjee, University of Otago, for research entitled: Investigating the origin and consequences of epigenetic alterations in cancer metastasis.

Dr Christopher Cornwall, Victoria University of Wellington, for research entitled: Physiological and environmental controls of coralline algal calcification under climate change.

Dr Alex Gavryushkin, University of Otago, for research entitled: Online algorithms in evolutionary biology.

Dr David Hayman, Massey University, for research entitled: From individuals to populations: multi-scale approaches to pathogen emergence.

Dr Marwan Katurji, University of Canterbury, for research entitled: The invisible realm of atmospheric coherent turbulent structures: Resolving their dynamics and interaction with Earth's surface.

Dr Yvette Perrott, Victoria University of Wellington, for research entitled: Realising the potential of galaxy clusters as cosmological probes.

Dr Max Petrov, The University of Auckland, for research entitled: Deciphering the metabolic pathways underlying post-pancreatitis diabetes.

Associate Professor Melinda Webber, The University of Auckland, for research entitled: Kia tu rangatira ai nga iwi Māori: living, succeeding, and thriving as iwi Māori.

More information on the new Rutherford Discovery Fellows is available at:


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