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Published 25 October 2017

Fellowships and scholarships support discovery across spectrum of research careers

Three researchers recognised for their sustained research excellence and seven highly promising researchers at the early stages of their careers have been awarded fellowships and scholarships today.

The three established researchers receiving prestigious James Cook Research Fellowships will be supported to undertake study or research in their field of endeavour for two years. 

Professor Katie Pickles, University of Canterbury will examine heroines in modern global history. She will research what these exceptional individuals reveal about women’s changing roles and status over the past 200 years, focusing on Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Professor Vickery Arcus, University of Waikato, developed a theoretical framework for explaining the behaviour of enzymes in response to changes in temperature. He will use the fellowship to explore if this framework continues to explain the behaviour of enzymes in more complex biological systems such as cells, organisms and ecosystems. This research might help us predict how biological systems will react to increasing global temperatures.

Associate Professor Stéphane Coen, the University of Auckland, will further his research into optical fibres and microresonators.  Heralded by the 2005 Nobel Prize in Physics, optical frequency combs allow light from lasers to be split into thousands of ultra-stable laser beams with different wavelengths. He will use his fellowship to develop new flexible ways to generate such combs, which have many potential applications, including in the telecommunications industry. The Royal Society Te Apārangi awarded him the Hector Medal in 2016 for research in this area.

View more on the 2017 James Cook Research Fellowship recipients.

The James Cook Research Fellowships are administered by Royal Society Te Apārangi on behalf of the New Zealand government.

The Royal Society Te Apārangi Rutherford Foundation Trust also announced two PhD scholarships and five postdoctoral fellowships.

Two-year New Zealand Postdoctoral Fellowships have been awarded to:

  • Dr Robin Lee, University of Canterbury, for research entitled: “Earthquake-induced ground motion prediction: Realising the paradigm shift from empirical relations to physics-based simulation methods”
  • Dr Daniel Preston, University of Canterbury, for research entitled: “Building bigger and better cages: a novel approach to large and complex molecules”
  • Dr Michael Price, Victoria University of Wellington, for research entitled: “Solar cells beyond the Shockley-Quiesser limit: 2-D semiconductors at the interface”
  • Dr Jessica Rodrigues, Plant and Food Research, for research entitled:“Harnessing sequence variation of MYB genes across plant genomes for a healthy and colourful future”
  • Dr Erica Todd, University of Otago, for research entitled: “Epigenetic regulation of sex change”

Three-year Cambridge Rutherford Memorial PhD Scholarships have been awarded to:

  • Mr Alexander Sneyd, University of Cambridge (currently at Victoria University of Wellington), for research entitled: “Application of Metal Halide Perovskites and Other Semiconductor Materials to Photovoltaic Devices”
  • Ms Charlotte Steel, University of Cambridge (currently at University of Otago), for research entitled:  “How protein misfolding can be prevented in neurodegenerative disease"

View more on the 2017 Rutherford Foundation recipients.

Royal Society Te Apārangi President and Chair of the Rutherford Foundation Trust, Professor Richard Bedford, said the Society was pleased to award fellowships and scholarships to these outstanding researchers who are at varying stages of their careers.

“The Society seeks to support all New Zealanders to explore, discover and share new knowledge. We look forward to hearing what these talented researchers uncover with their research.”

The Royal Society Te Apārangi Rutherford Foundation Trust receives financial support from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Freemasons New Zealand and the Cambridge Commonwealth, European and International Trust.

Source: Royal Society Te Apārangi