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Information for panellists

Information on being a panellist for selecting James Cook Research Fellows

The 2023 James Cook Research Fellowship Panellist Guidelines

Introduction | Kōrero whakataki

The James Cook Research Fellowships, administered by Royal Society Te Apārangi on behalf of the New Zealand Government, are awarded to researchers who have the requisite qualifications and experience and are able to demonstrate that they have achieved national and international recognition in their area of research. The Fellowships allow them to concentrate on their chosen research for two years without the additional burden of administrative and teaching duties. 

The Fellow will undertake a major piece of research that will benefit New Zealand and further research in the particular discipline. The funding package annually is $100,000 plus GST and $10,000 plus GST in relevant expenses.

The objectives of the Fellowships

  • The encouragement of sustained excellence within the particular discipline.
  • The strengthening of research within the particular disciplines covered by the Fellowships.

Fields of research

Royal Society Te Apārangi offers James Cook Research Fellowships in each of the following categories:

  • biological sciences (including biotechnology)
  • engineering sciences and technologies
  • health sciences
  • physical sciences (including chemical, geosciences and mathematical and information sciences)
  • social sciences (including research of relevance to peoples of New Zealand and/or the South-West Pacific)

In the 2023 round, Royal Society Te Apārangi is offering Fellowships for:

  • health sciences
  • engineering sciences and technologies
  • social sciences (including research of relevance to peoples of New Zealand and/or the South-West Pacific)

The categories and the descriptions following each should be read to be inclusive rather than exclusive. The intention is for the categories to cover all areas of research.

These guidelines are intended to facilitate the smooth operation of the James Cook Research Fellowship Assessment Panel and Selection Committee.

Assessment overview | Tirohanga whānui o te aromatawai

Royal Society Te Apārangi will establish assessment panels for the Fellowships being offered for 2023 and will appoint panellists who will cover a wide range of expertise. These panels will provide recommendations on the relative merit of the proposals. The role of each panel is to rank the applicants and recommend a candidate for funding. The recommendations of the panels are ratified by the James Cook Research Fellowship Selection Committee. This committee will be chaired by the Governor-General of New Zealand and will consist of the President of Royal Society Te Apārangi and the Chair of the Academy Executive Committee of Royal Society Te Apārangi. In the ratification process, this committee will review the decisions made from the assessment panels to award the Fellow in each category. Members of the Fellowship Selection Committee have the final responsibility for making allocations of Fellowships. They also provide advice to Royal Society Te Apārangi on the allocation process.

Assessment of proposals

For assessing the proposals each member of the assessment panel will receive a PDF containing the applications for their panel. Panel members are asked to read, assess and grade each proposal based on the three selection criteria, taking into account the referee reports. Proposals are to be assessed by panel members exclusively on the information provided in the proposal and referee reports. Panellists must grade each application, unless they declare a conflict of interest with the applicant.

Royal Society Te Apārangi will collate the grades from the panellists to create a ranked list of applications. The ranked list will be vetted by the panel and if needed a video-conference will be arranged for the final recommendation to the James Cook Research Fellowship Selection Committee.

Each panel member will receive a spreadsheet on which to record their grades. The spreadsheet should be completed and returned to the James Cook Research Fellowship Secretariat by 5pm, Friday 28 July 2023 (NZST).

Selection criteria

The three selection criteria are the:

  1. Research calibre of the applicant (weighted 60% of the assessment)
  2. applicant's research knowledge, skills, and ideas
  3. evidence of applicant’s national and international standing.
  4. Quality of the research project (weighted 25% of the assessment)
  5. merit of the proposed research
  6. robust nature of the research based on a sound theoretical and methodological framework
  7. indication of how the research advances the discipline or breaks new ground
  8. where relevant, the relation of the research to the themes of Vision Mātauranga and broader engagement with Māori.

3              Outreach and communication (weighted 15% of the assessment)

  1. proposed communication of the research findings both scholarly and more broadly to the Aotearoa New Zealand public
  2. expectation that the research outcomes will generate national media coverage
  3. highlight other opportunities to engage the public in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Grading the selection criteria

For each of the three selection criteria the following 10-point grading scale is to be used.

(outstanding)       10       9       8        7        6        5        4        3        2        1      (not suitable)

By following this scale an application which is outstanding in each of the three selection criteria would score 30 as a Total Score.

Vision Mātauranga

Vision Mātauranga is a policy about innovation, opportunity and the creation of knowledge that highlights the potential contribution of Māori knowledge, resources and people.

There are four themes:

  • Indigenous Innovation, which involves contributing to economic growth through distinctive research and development
  • Taiao, which is concerned with achieving environmental sustainability through iwi and hapū relationships with land and sea
  • Hauora/Oranga, which centres around improving health and social wellbeing
  • Mātauranga, which involves exploring indigenous knowledge.

Please note that Vision Mātauranga is included as selection criterion (2d):

  • Where relevant, proposals should consider the relation of the research to the themes of Vision Mātauranga and broader engagement with Māori.

A Vision Mātauranga statement must be included for all research that has relevance for Māori. If the applicant ticks ‘not applicable’, they are also required to provide a rationale for this decision. There is a space for panellist comments on Vision Mātauranga on the electronic form.

For more information on Vision Mātauranga, including guidance for applicants, please see Appendix I.

Role of Royal Society Te Apārangi staff | Te mahi a ngā kaimahi a Te Apārangi

The staff of Royal Society Te Apārangi are not involved in making allocation decisions. Their role is one of facilitation and advice to conveners and panel members. The staff will:

  • organise all logistical aspects of the process
  • assist the conveners in determining realistic timetables for meetings
  • provide a framework for assessments
  • record decisions
  • identify problem areas
  • convey Fellowship decisions to applicants; all discussions relating to a decision should occur through Society staff
  • negotiate contract details with successful applicants and their host organisations.

Privacy | Tūmataitinga

Royal Society Te Apārangi has obligations under the Privacy Act to keep confidential certain information provided by individuals. The discussion within panel meetings is regarded as confidential.

  • Panel members should ensure safe keeping of all applications and related material.
  • At the conclusion of the meetings, members should destroy documentation.
  • There should be no correspondence or discussion of the applications with referees, third parties or the applicants.
  • The intellectual property of the ideas and hypotheses put forward in applications should be treated in confidence.

Conflict of Interest | Ngā take whai taharua

Royal Society Te Apārangi takes the issue of conflict of interest very seriously. A rigorous position must be taken to maintain the credibility of the selection process and to assure applicants that proposals are subjected to fair and reasonable appraisal.

Royal Society Te Apārangi wants to ensure that the panel members are active researchers with an excellent background in research. As these researchers will invariably have connections with some applicants, conflicts of interest will arise. Where these occur for panel members, the following rules will apply:

  • All conflicts of interest must be declared in writing to Royal Society Te Apārangi. Society staff will minute all conflicts of interest and actions taken.
  • Where a panel member is a family member or close friend of any applicant(s), that person will not assess the proposal and take no part in the consideration of that proposal. They will hear about the outcome of that proposal when official letters are sent to all applicants.
  • If a panel member has an interest in an application, such as collaborating with an applicant or an applicant’s group, or is conflicted with the applicant* then that member shall not assess the proposal.
  • A panel member cannot be a referee for any applicant in the current funding round.

*A panel member is generally deemed to be conflicted if:

  • They work in the same department as the applicant(s). Where the department is large and contact between the panel member and applicant(s) is minimal, the Chair may deem there to be no conflict.
  • They work at the same CRI AND are in the same team as the applicant(s) (the level of conflict will depend on the size of the organisation).
  • They work at the same company as the applicant(s). The level of conflict will depend on the size of the company.
  • They have co-authored publications with the applicant(s) in the last 5 years.
  • They have a low level of comfort assessing the application due to their relationship with the applicant(s).

Timetable | Wātaka




Thursday 23 March 2023

Online portal opens

Thursday 18 May 2023

Online portal closes, 5 pm New Zealand Standard Time (NZST)

Thursday 22 June 2023

Deadline for referee reports to be submitted, 5 pm NZST

No later than 30 June 2023

Proposals & referee reports sent to panellists

Friday 28 July 2023

Deadline for panellist’s scores to be submitted, 5pm NZST

August 2023

Panel video-conference (TBC)

September 2023

Ratification of funding recommendations

October 2023 (TBC)

Fellows announced


Enquiries | Ngā pātai

If you require further information about the James Cook Research Fellowships, please email us at james.cook@royalsociety.org.nz or phone 04-470-5764.

Additional information about the James Cook Research Fellowships is available on our website.




Appendix I: Vision Mātauranga information for applicants | Āpitihanga I: Ngā kōrero Vision Mātauranga mā ngā kaitono

I           Background

Vision Mātauranga is a policy about innovation, opportunity and the creation of knowledge that highlights the potential contribution of Māori knowledge, resources and people.

Applicants should identify which, if any, of the four Vision Mātauranga themes below are associated with the proposed research. A Vision Mātauranga statement must be included for all research that has relevance for Māori. If this is not applicable to an applicant’s proposed research, they must tick ‘not applicable’ AND provide a rationale for why this is.

There are four themes:

  • Indigenous Innovation, which involves contributing to economic growth through distinctive research and development
  • Taiao, which is concerned with achieving environmental sustainability through iwi and hapū relationships with land and sea
  • Hauora/Oranga, which centres around improving health and social wellbeing
  • Mātauranga, which involves exploring indigenous knowledge.

How do applicants decide whether to include a Vision Mātauranga statement in their proposal?

The five ways of conceptualising Vision Mātauranga in an applicant’s research (see below) may help them decide if this applies to their project. The categories have been adapted from those on the National Science Challenge, Biological Heritage website hosted by Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research. Please note, however, that these categories are fluid. There may well be overlap between them as in categories 2 and 3 in terms of the nature and degree of relevance to Māori, and not every point in each category need apply. The original categories were set out by MBIE in information for the Endeavour Fund c. 2015.

II          Ways of conceptualising Vision Mātauranga in an applicant’s research

1          Research with no specific Māori component

  • No mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) is used.
  • Māori are not associated with the research process (for example, not on any research management / advisory / governance panels, it is not inclusive of Māori land or institutions, nor the subject of any component of the research).
  • Work is not likely to be of greater direct relevance to Māori than members of any other group.

2          Research specifically relevant to Māori

  • There is specific relevance to Māori.
  • Mātauranga Māori may be used in a minor way to guide the work and its relevance to Māori.
  • It includes work that contributes to Māori aspirations and outcomes.

3          Research involving Māori

  • Mātauranga Māori may be incorporated in the project, but is not central to the project.
  • Research is specifically and directly relevant to Māori and Māori are involved in the design and/or undertaking of the research.
  • The work typically contributes to Māori (for example, iwi, hapū, organisations) aspirations and outcomes.

4          Māori-centred research

  • The project is Māori led, and where Mātauranga Māori is used alongside other knowledges (for example through frameworks, models, methods, tools, etc.).
  • Kaupapa Māori research is a key focus of the project.
  • Research is typically collaborative or consultative, with direct input from stakeholders.
  • There is alignment with and contribution to Māori (for example, iwi, hapū, organisations) aspirations.

5          Kaupapa Māori research

  • Mātauranga Māori is incorporated, used and understood, as a central focus of project and its findings.
  • Research is grounded in te ao Māori and connected to Māori philosophies and principles.
  • Research typically uses kaupapa Māori research methodologies.
  • Te reo Māori may be a central feature to this kaupapa or research activity, and key researchers have medium to high cultural fluency or knowledge of tikanga and reo.
  • The research is generally led by a Māori researcher; non-Indigenous researchers may carry out research under the guidance/mentoring of a Māori researcher.
  • Māori participation (iwi/hapū/marae/individual) is high.
  • The work contributes strongly to Māori (for example, iwi, hapū, organisations) aspirations and outcomes and is mana enhancing.

III        Developing a Vision Mātauranga statement

It is important for applicants to keep in mind that there is no single approach or prescription for Vision Mātauranga: one size does not fit all and there are many possible ways of addressing Vision Mātauranga. Vision Mātauranga should not, however, be seen as an add-on, nor should it be treated as separate from the research, methods or people involved in the project. A holistic approach that considers reciprocity and relationships is therefore desirable.

Vision Mātauranga does not begin and end with your Vision Mātauranga statement. They should document how they have considered Vision Mātauranga and demonstrate applicable actions and relationships throughout the research. The following questions may be useful for applicants to consider when conceptualising and writing their project:

  • Have you co-created the research topic/issue with an iwi or Māori organisation?
  • What does working in partnership with iwi mean to you as researchers?
  • To what extent have you discussed the research with Māori partners and agreed on the methodology you will use?
  • Was there full disclosure and informed consent to the proposed research with Māori partners? How has that agreement/informed consent been agreed to?
  • What provisions have you made to ensure there is appropriate technology transfer to Māori stakeholders as the research proceeds and as findings become available towards the end of the project?
  • Are there benefits to Māori? What are they?
  • How will you share the research outcomes with Māori?
  • Is there a Tiriti o Waitangi component or requirement in your research?
  • Is the research mana enhancing?

IV        Vision Mātauranga Resources

Below you will find a non-exhaustive list of published resources that describe, discuss, and talk about how researchers have engaged with Vision Mātauranga and kaupapa Māori research. These range from early conceptions of Vision Mātauranga to more recent frameworks. The resources underscore the diverse ways Vision Mātauranga may be approached across disciplines and methodologies.




Appendix II: Glossary of te reo Māori terms | Āpitihanga II: Papakupu o ngā kupu reo Māori

Definitions taken from maoridictionary.co.nz

Ka mihi ki a Ahorangi Angus Macfarlane, Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha, mō tēnei. With thanks to Professor Angus Macfarlane, University of Canterbury, for his input.


the Māori name for New Zealand


affection, sympathy, charity, compassion, love, empathy


ancestor with continuing influence, god, demon, supernatural being, deity, ghost, object of superstitious regard, strange being - although often translated as 'god' and now also used for the Christian God


kinship group, clan, tribe, subtribe - section of a large kinship group and the primary political unit in traditional Māori society. It consisted of a number of whānau sharing descent from a common ancestor, usually being named after the ancestor, but sometimes from an important event in the group's history. A number of related hapū usually shared adjacent territories forming a looser tribal federation (iwi)

Hau kāinga

home, true home, local people of a marae, home people


health, wellbeing


gathering, meeting, assembly


extended kinship group, tribe, nation, people, nationality, race - often refers to a large group of people descended from a common ancestor and associated with a distinct territory


home, address, residence, village, settlement, habitation, habitat, dwelling


trustee, minder, guard, custodian, guardian, caregiver, keeper, steward


guardianship, stewardship, trusteeship


adult, elder, elderly man, elderly woman, senior person - a person of status within the whānau or iwi


philosophy, topic, policy, matter for discussion, plan, purpose, scheme, proposal, agenda, subject, programme, theme, issue, initiative

Kaupapa Māori

Māori approach, Māori topic, Māori customary practice, Māori institution, Māori agenda, Māori principles, Māori ideology - a philosophical doctrine, incorporating the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values of Māori society


gift, present, offering, donation, contribution - especially one maintaining social relationships and has connotations of reciprocity

Kōiwi tangata

human bones or remains


to tell, say, speak, read, talk, address; speech, narrative, story, news, account, discussion, conversation, discourse, statement, information


be painful, sore, hurt


prestige, authority, control, power, influence, status, spiritual power, charisma - mana is a supernatural force in a person, place or object. Mana goes hand in hand with tapu, one affecting the other. The more prestigious the event, person or object, the more it is surrounded by tapu and mana. Mana is the enduring, indestructible power of the atua and is inherited at birth, the more senior the descent, the greater the mana. The authority of mana and tapu is inherited and delegated through the senior line from the atua as their human agent to act on revealed will. Since authority is a spiritual gift delegated by the atua, man remains the agent, never the source of mana. This divine choice is confirmed by the elders, initiated by the tohunga under traditional consecratory rites (tohi). Mana gives a person the authority to lead, organise and regulate communal expeditions and activities, to make decisions regarding social and political matters. A person or tribe's mana can increase from successful ventures or decrease through the lack of success


hospitality, kindness, generosity, support - the process of showing respect, generosity and care for others


Māori, Indigenous New Zealander, Indigenous person of Aotearoa/New Zealand - a new use of the word resulting from Pākehā contact in order to distinguish between people of Māori descent and the colonisers


courtyard - the open area in front of the wharenui (meeting house), where formal greetings and discussions take place. Often also used to include the complex of buildings around the marae


knowledge, wisdom, understanding, skill - sometimes used in the plural; education - an extension of the original meaning and commonly used in modern Māori with this meaning


life principle, life force, vital essence, special nature, a material symbol of a life principle, source of emotions - the essential quality and vitality of a being or entity. Also used for a physical object, individual, ecosystem or social group in which this essence is located


sea, ocean, large lake

Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa

the Pacific Ocean


English, foreign, European, exotic - introduced from or originating in a foreign country; New Zealander of European descent - probably originally applied to English-speaking Europeans living in Aotearoa/ New Zealand


tribal saying, tribal motto, proverb (especially about a tribe), set form of words, formulaic expression, saying of the ancestors, figure of speech, motto, slogan - set sayings known for their economy of words and metaphor and encapsulating many Māori values and human characteristics


myth, ancient legend, story


younger generation, youth


chief (male or female), chieftain, chieftainess, master, mistress, boss, supervisor, employer, landlord, owner, proprietor - qualities of a leader is a concern for the integrity and prosperity of the people, the land, the language and other cultural treasures (for example, oratory and song poetry), and an aggressive and sustained response to outside forces that may threaten these


chieftainship, right to exercise authority, chiefly autonomy, chiefly authority, ownership, leadership of a social group, domain of the rangatira, noble birth, attributes of a chief


boundary, district, region, territory, area, border (of land)


council, tribal council, assembly, board, boardroom, iwi authority - assemblies called to discuss issues of concern to iwi or the community


children - normally used only in the plural


husband, male, man

Tangata whenua

local people, hosts, indigenous people - people born of the whenua, i.e. of the placenta and of the land where the people's ancestors have lived and where their placenta are buried


treasure, anything prized - applied to anything considered to be of value including socially or culturally valuable objects, resources, phenomenon, ideas and techniques


be sacred, prohibited, restricted, set apart, forbidden, under atua protection; restriction, prohibition - a supernatural condition. A person, place or thing is dedicated to an atua and is thus removed from the sphere of the profane and put into the sphere of the sacred. It is untouchable, no longer to be put to common use

Te reo Māori

Māori language

Te Tiriti o Waitangi

The Treaty of Waitangi


correct procedure, custom, habit, lore, method, manner, rule, way, code, meaning, plan, practice, convention, protocol - the customary system of values and practices that have developed over time and are deeply embedded in the social context

Tino rangatiratanga

self-determination, sovereignty, autonomy, self-government, domination, rule, control, power


ancestor, grandparent, grandfather, grandmother - singular form of tīpuna and the eastern dialect variation of tupuna


skilled person, chosen expert, priest, healer - a person chosen by the agent of an atua and the tribe as a leader in a particular field because of signs indicating talent for a particular vocation


ancestor, grandparent – singular form of tūpuna and the western dialect variation of tipuna


domicile, standing, place where one has the right to stand - place where one has rights of residence and belonging through kinship and whakapapa


spirit, soul - spirit of a person which exists beyond death. It is the non-physical spirit, distinct from the body and the mauri


wahine - woman, female, lady, wife; wāhine - women, females, ladies, wives – plural form of wahine; female, women, feminine




seminar, conference, forum, educational seminar; tribal knowledge, lore, learning - important traditional cultural, religious, historical, genealogical and philosophical knowledge; tertiary institution that caters for Māori learning needs - established under the Education Act 1990


oratory, oration, formal speech-making, address, speech - formal speeches usually made by men during a pohiri/pōwhiri and other gatherings


genealogy, genealogical table, lineage, descent - reciting whakapapa was, and is, an important skill and reflected the importance of genealogies in Māori society in terms of leadership, land and fishing rights, kinship and status. It is central to all Māori institutions. There are different terms for the types of whakapapa and the different ways of reciting them including: tāhū (recite a direct line of ancestry through only the senior line); whakamoe (recite a genealogy including males and their spouses); taotahi (recite genealogy in a single line of descent); hikohiko (recite genealogy in a selective way by not following a single line of descent); ure tārewa (male line of descent through the first-born male in each generation)


proverb, significant saying, formulaic saying, cryptic saying, aphorism. Like whakatauākī and pepeha they are essential ingredients in whaikōrero


extended family, family group, a familiar term of address to a number of people - the primary economic unit of traditional Māori society. In the modern context the term is sometimes used to include friends who may not have any kinship ties to other members


relationship, kinship, sense of family connection - a relationship through shared experiences and working together which provides people with a sense of belonging. It develops as a result of kinship rights and obligations, which also serve to strengthen each member of the kin group. It also extends to others to whom one develops a close familial, friendship or reciprocal relationship


land - often used in the plural; territory, domain; country, land, nation, state