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Information for referees

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

The Referee Guidelines are available as a PDF: 2019 Referee Guidelines James Cook Research Fellowships

Brief information about the 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 scientific 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 science.

The James Cook Terms of Reference are availavle as a PDF: James Cook Terms of Reference


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 9 May 2019 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 six questions to answer:

  1. What is your opinion of the scientific or technological capability of the applicant?
  2. What is your opinion of the applicant's potential to conduct independent research?
  3. What is your opinion of the scientific or technological merit, quality and feasibility of the applicant's proposed research programme?
  4. What is your opinion (if any) of the level of intellectual and logistical support available to the applicant at the host institution?
  5. If the candidate is known to you; please state how long and in what capacity.
  6. 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 13 June 2019  (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.


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.