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Fellowships Support Research Into Continent Te Riu-a-Māui Zealandia Geology

Fellowships support research into continent Te Riu-a-Māui Zealandia geology, the quantum internet and understanding Darwinian evolution

Three researchers at the height of their careers have been awarded fellowships to undertake study or research in their field of endeavour for two years, recognising their sustained research excellence. They will study the geology of the continent of Te Riu-a-Māui Zealandia, engineering networking protocols for the quantum internet, and understanding how genetic variation influences Darwinian evolution.

Dr Nick Mortimer FRSNZ of Te Pū Ao GNS Science played an important role in the discovery of world’s eighth and mostrecently discovered continent, Te Riu-a-Māui Zealandia. Dr Mortimer is assembling a team that will bridge physical science and mātauranga Māori to explain the geology of our continent in an understandable way using Māori and Pākehā accounts of the exploration, history and development of Aotearoa and Te Riu-a-Māui Zealandia.

Professor Winston Seah of Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington is studying how the quantum internet will enhance internet-based utilities by providing access to quantum computing resources. This research will incorporate the physics-based principals of quantum mechanics to develop new protocols and algorithms for connecting quantum network devices into the future quantum internet.

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Distinguished Professor Hamish Spencer FRSNZ of Te Whare Wānanga o Ōtākou University of Otago will investigate the paradox of variation, a central problem in evolutionary biology. He will determine how evolutionary processes interact with each other and how this shapes genetic variation within living populations.

The fellowships are awarded to researchers who have achieved national and international recognition in their area of scientific research. The fellowships allow them to concentrate on a major piece of research for two years without the additional burden of administrative and teaching duties. The funding package annually is $100,000 plus GST and $10,000 plus GST in relevant expenses.

The fellowships are managed by Royal Society Te Apārangi on behalf of the New Zealand Government with funding from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. Currently called the James Cook Research Fellowships, MBIE has advised they are seeking feedback from the sector on a range of issues, including the possible renaming of some of their long-standing investment funds, including this one. Rather than rename reactively, they have advised that they want to make sure the new names are the best fit for the investment so that these will last and reflect the future direction of New Zealand’s science system.

More information on the fellowship recipients is available online.

Background information

About the James Cook Research Fellowship

The James Cook Research Fellowship scheme was established in 1995; the scheme subsumed the Hodge Fellowship (awarded for research in the social sciences) and the James Cook Fellowship (for science in New Zealand and the Pacific). The primary objectives of the scheme are to support researchers with knowledge, skills and ideas and to recognise research professionals of excellence.

Funding support will be provided to researchers who are recognised for their sustained excellence, to undertake study or research in their field of scientific eminence. This study or research may be undertaken in a location and institution of their own choosing whether in New Zealand or overseas. The normal term of the fellowship will be two years extendable to three years depending on the outcome of a review after the initial two-year period.

Fellows will be:

  • researchers recognised for their sustained excellence in research; and
  • normally resident in New Zealand or of New Zealand nationality.

The award is intended to be prestigious and this should be recognised in assessing candidates.

View more: /james-cook-research-fellowship

About Royal Society Te Apārangi

Royal Society Te Apārangi is an independent not-for-profit organisation that supports all New Zealanders to explore, discover and share knowledge.

Its varied programmes provide funding and learning opportunities for researchers, teachers, school students, together with those who are simply curious about the world.

To celebrate the discoveries of New Zealand researchers, the Society awards medals and elects Fellows, who are leaders in their fields.

These experts help the Society to provide independent advice to New Zealanders and the government on issues of public concern.

The Society has a broad network of members and friends around New Zealand and invites all those who value the work New Zealanders do in exploring, discovering and sharing knowledge to join with them.

To discover more visit

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