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Information for referees

Information on being a referee for a James Cook Research Fellowship applicant.

The 2020 Referee Guidelines are available as a PDF: Referee Guidelines James Cook Research Fellowships


The James Cook Research Fellowships, administered by the Royal Society Te Apārangi (the Society) 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 funding package annually is $100,000 plus GST and up to $10,000 plus GST in relevant expenses. It is expected that a major piece of research will be undertaken that will benefit New Zealand and advance research in the particular discipline.

More information about the James Cook Research Fellowships, including the Terms of Reference, is available from our website:  http://royalsociety.org.nz/what-we-do/funds-and-opportunities/james-cook-research-fellowship/


The contents of the referee reports are confidential in every respect. A referee report is submitted on the understanding that: (i) it will only be used in the appraisal process; (ii) it is confidential to the selection panels appointed by the Royal Society Te Apārangi; and, (iii) that it will not be made available to the applicant or the public.

The contents and ideas contained in the applicant’s proposal are confidential in every respect. This includes intellectual property, financial and all other information. For this reason, the proposal material is not to be used and should be destroyed once your review is completed.


Applicants are required to obtain two referee reports to support their application. Referees will be approached by applicants prior to the application closing date (5pm, Thursday 7 May 2020 New Zealand Standard Time (NZST)) to see if they are available and willing to assist with their application through writing a referee report.

Referees will be emailed a URL link to a web-based portal to complete their report. The candidate’s application is available for review on this page of the portal. There are five questions to answer:

  1. What is your opinion of the research calibre of the applicant?
  2. What is your opinion of the merit, quality and feasibility of the applicant's proposed research programme?
  3. Please comment on the applicant’s outreach and communication plan.
  4. If the candidate is known to you; please state how long and in what capacity.
  5. Any other comments that you feel are relevant.

Once you have completed your referee report in the supplied template:

  1. Login to the web-based referee portal with the supplied URL.
  2. Please click BROWSE.
  3. Locate and select your referee report on your computer for upload.
  4. Please click on the 'Upload attachment' button.
  5. You can see what the printed document will look like by clicking the 'VIEW / PRINT your report' link from the left hand menu.
  6. If your browser blocks pop-up windows you may have to turn this off in order to display the reports / guidelines as these open in new windows.
  7. Once you are satisfied with your report please click the SUBMIT button.

Please note:

For the applicant to be eligible for a Fellowship, your referee report must be received by the Society by 5pm, Thursday 11 June 2020 (NZST).

  • If applicable, ensure that you are familiar with the time difference between NZST and your local time.
  • Referees should not be involved in the proposed programme of research nor be close colleagues, former research supervisors, co-authors, collaborators or relatives.
  • If you chose to withdraw as a referee, please advise the applicant as soon as possible so another referee can be contacted.
  • No signature is required if the report is completed online.

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; and
  • Mātauranga, which involves exploring indigenous knowledge.

Please note that Vision Mātauranga is included as a 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. For more information on Vision Mātauranga, including guidance for applicants, please see Appendix I (from Panellists Guidelines).


If you require further information about the James Cook Research Fellowships, please email us at james.cook@royalsociety.org.nz or phone +64 (0)4 470 5764.