Explore as a

Share our content


Published 28 October 2022

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

Dr Nick Mortimer (left), Professor Winston Seah (centre) and Distinguished Professor Hamish Spencer (right).

Fellowships support research into 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.

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.

Dr Nick Mortimer FRSNZ of Te Pū Ao GNS Science played an important role in the discovery of world’s eighth and most‐recently 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.

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

Source: Royal Society Te Apārangi