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Marsden Fund panels

Definitions of panels and details of panel members

There are ten discipline-based assessment panels which make funding recommendations to the Marsden Fund Council.  The panels are made up of researchers who are experts in their field. They are appointed by the Royal Society Te Apārangi after being recommended by the Fund Council and usually serve for a maximum of three years.

On this page:



Biomedical Sciences (BMS)

Research related to human health and disease in: physiology, pathology, pharmacology, molecular biology, genetics, cell biology, microbiology; neurobiology (including animals as a model species for humans); human genomics and related bioinformatics.


Name Institution
Professor Colin Brown (Convenor) University of Otago
Dr Monica Acosta University of Auckland
Dr Sarah Baird University of Otago
Professor Murray Cox Massey University
Dr Joanna Hicks University of Waikato
Associate Professor Roslyn Kemp University of Otago
Associate Professor James Murphy Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
Associate Professor Thomas Proft University of Auckland


Cellular, Molecular and Physiological Biology (CMP)

Studies related to understanding the activities that occur in cells and tissues, and their integration within living organisms across the biological, agricultural and veterinary and biochemical sciences. This includes: plant physiology; animal physiology; cell biology; plant and animal genetics; molecular biology and molecular genetics; functional genomics and related bioinformatics; microbiology excluding microbial ecology; animal and plant pathology.


Name Institution
Professor Richard Newcomb (Convenor) Plant & Food Research 
Dr Julie Dalziel AgResearch
Professor Renwick Dobson University of Canterbury
Dr Heidi Dungey Scion
Dr Monica Gerth Victoria University of Wellington
Associate Professor Anthony Hickey University of Auckland
Dr Peter Mace University of Otago
Associate Professor Matthew Templeton Plant & Food Research / University of Auckland


Earth Sciences and Astronomy (ESA)

Including: geology; geophysics; physical geography; oceanography; hydrology; meteorology; atmospheric science; earth sciences; astronomy and astrophysics; also cross-disciplinary topics which include substantial components in some of these areas.


Name Institution
Professor Kathleen Campbell (Convenor) University of Auckland
Emeritus Professor Richard Arculus Australian National University
Dr Rebecca Carey University of Tasmania
Dr Giuseppe Cortese GNS Science
Dr Philip Barnes
Professor Sarah Brough University of New South Wales
Professor Karin Bryan University of Waikato
Dr Daniel Carl Henare Hikuroa University of Auckland
Dr Alix Post Geoscience Australia
Professor John Townend Victoria University of Wellington 


Ecology, Evolution and Behaviour (EEB)

Studies related to the interrelationships between organisms and their environment, evolution and behaviour. This includes: animal, plant and microbial ecology; biogeography; biodiversity; phylogenetics; systematics and evolution; population biology and genetics; animal behaviour; physiological plant ecology; biostatistics and modelling. Note that proposals seeking to establish the molecular basis of processes or traits are better sent to CMP or BMS panels, unless they materially concern the evolution of those processes or traits.


Name Institution
Associate Professor Janet Wilmshurst (Convenor) Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research 
Professor Margaret Barbour University of Waikato
Dr Manpreet Dhami Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research
Associate Professor Crid Fraser University of Otago
Professor Chris Johnson University of Tasmania
Dr Nick Matzke University of Auckland
Professor Philip Seddon University of Otago
Associate Professor Peter Vesk University of Melbourne
Professor Qiao Wang Massey University
Associate Professor Maren Wellenreuther Plant and Food Research


Economics and Human and Behavioural Sciences (EHB)

Including: economics; psychology (experimental, cognitive, neuro-); cognitive science; cognitive linguistics; archaeology; physical anthropology; business studies; commerce; management studies; marketing; communication science and demography.


Name Institution
Professor Jarrod Haar (Convenor) Auckland University of Technology
Associate Professor Paul Corballis University of Auckland
Professor David Fielding University of Otago
Professor Jennifer Hay University of Canterbury
Associate Professor Val Hooper Victoria University of Wellington
Professor Judith Littleton University of Auckland
Professor Colleen Mills University of Canterbury
Professor John Perrone University of Waikato
Professor Matthew Ryan  Auckland University of Technology


Engineering and Interdisciplinary Sciences (EIS)

Including: fundamentals of engineering (biomedical, bioprocessing, civil, chemical, electrical, electronic, environmental, materials, mechanical and robotics); and cross-disciplinary research relating to engineering.


Name Institution
Distinguished Professor Geoff Chase (Convenor) University of Canterbury 
Associate Professor Alys Clark University of Auckland
Professor Haiping Du University of Wollongong
Professor Mike Duke University of Waikato
Professor Wei Gao University of Auckland
Associate Professor Daniel Holland University of Canterbury
Dr John Kennedy GNS Science
Professor Nicole Kessissoglou University of New South Wales
Professor Melissa Knothe Tate Blue Mountains Interdisciplinary Innovation Institute


Humanities (HUM)

Including: English; languages; history; religion; philosophy; law; classics; linguistics; literature; cultural studies; media studies; art history; film.


Name Institution
Professor Cynthia White (Convenor) Massey University
Professor Tim Dare University of Auckland
Associate Professor Carwyn Jones Victoria University of Wellington
Dr Cherie Lacey Victoria University of Wellington 
Dr Daniel Osland University of Otago
Associate Professor Sarah Shieff University of Waikato
Professor Elizabeth Toomey University of Canterbury 
Associate Professor Angela Wanhalla University of Otago


Mathematical and Information Sciences (MIS)

Including: pure mathematics; applied mathematics; statistics; operations research; logic; computer science; information systems; and software engineering.


Name Institution
Professor Gillian Dobbie (Convenor) University of Auckland
Professor Jennifer Brown University of Canterbury
Distinguished Professor Marston Conder University of Auckland
Professor Rod Downey Victoria University of Wellington
Professor Peter Forrester University of Melbourne
Dr Jessica Kasza Monash University
Professor Stephen MacDonell Auckland University of Technology / University of Otago
Professor Alistair Moffat University of Melbourne
Associate Professor Sarah Wakes University of Otago 


Physics, Chemistry and Biochemistry (PCB)

Including: materials science; physics; chemistry; biophysics, chemical biology and biochemistry.


Name Institution
Professor Penny Brothers (Convenor) University of Auckland / Australian National University
Professor Elisabetta Barberio University of Melbourne
Professor Simon Brown University of Canterbury
Dr Chris Bumby Victoria University of Wellington
Professor Naresh Kumar University of New South Wales
Associate Professor Nigel Lucas University of Otago
Associate Professor Megan Maher University of Melbourne
Professor Emily Parker Victoria University of Wellington
Dr Harald Schwefel University of Otago


Social Sciences (SOC)

Including: sociology; Māori studies; indigenous studies; sociology; social, developmental, organisational, community and health psychology; social, cultural and human geography; social anthropology; education; urban design and environmental studies; public health; nursing; public policy; political science; socio-linguistics; architecture.


Name Institution
Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley (Convenor) Massey University
Dr Melani Anae University of Auckland
Associate Professor Sharon Harvey Auckland University of Technology
Associate Professor Roslyn Kerr Lincoln University
Professor Robyn Longhurst University of Waikato
Associate Professor Karyn Paringatai University of Otago
Dr Isabelle Sin Motu Economic and Policy Research
Associate Professor Gareth Treharne University of Otago 


Social Sciences Fast-Start Panel

Because of the large numbers of applications to the Social Sciences panel in previous years, preliminary Fast-Start SOC proposals will be assessed by a second panel. Proposals invited to the full application round will be assessed along with the Standard proposals by the full Social Sciences panel.


Name Institution
Associate Professor Rachel Zajac (Convenor)* University of Otago
Dr Allen Bartley University of Auckland
Associate Professor Bethan Greener Massey University
Professor Lynda Johnston University of Waikato
Professor Te Kani Kingi Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi
Dr Lisa Uperesa  University of Auckland

 * Goes to Social Sciences Standard panel at full proposal stage

Potential Panellists

The Marsden Fund secretariat at the Royal Society Te Apārangi maintains a list of potential panellists. If individuals wish to signal their availability to serve on a Marsden Fund Panel in 2021 or beyond, they should contact Dr Rachel Averill at the Royal Society Te Apārangi with their contact details, affiliation, a clear preference for which panel they would be suitable for, and ideally a link to their institutional web page.

Panellists are appointed by the Chief Executive of the Royal Society Te Apārangi based on the recommendation of the Marsden Fund panel Convenor. Appointments are made on a year-by-year basis for each calendar year. Panellists must be experienced researchers in an appropriate field and may be drawn from outside New Zealand if necessary. 

In considering the suitability of potential panellists, the following requirements for panel composition should be taken into account as appropriate:

  • mix of discipline expertise;
  • institutional balance;
  • geographic representation; and
  • diversity/gender balance.

Panellists may not apply as a named as Principal or Associate Investigators to the panel they are serving on in that year.  The Royal Society Te Apārangi will call for nominations from interested parties. Individuals can nominate themselves or institutes can nominate staff to serve on panels.  All nominations received will be passed on to the relevant Convenor for consideration.