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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
Professor Murray Cox Massey University
Associate Professor Roslyn Kemp University of Otago
Professor Robin McAllen University of Melbourne / Florey Institute
Associate Professor Wayne Patrick Victoria University of Wellington
Dr Ruth Pidsley Garvan 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 Monica Gerth Victoria University of Wellington
Dr Peter Mace University of Otago
Professor Anthony Poole The University of Auckland
Dr Sarah Pilkington Plant & Food Research 
Dr Megan Wilson University of Otago


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 Daniel Carl Henare Hikuroa University of Auckland
Professor Pat Langhorne University of Otago
Professor David Prior University of Otago
Associate Professor Mark Quigley University of Melbourne
Associate Professor Peyman Zawar-Reza University of Canterbury
Associate Professor Jenni Adams University of Canterbury
Professor Karin Bryan University of Waikato


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 Elissa Cameron University of Canterbury
Professor Craig Cary University of Waikato
Dr Vonda Cummings NIWA
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
Associate Professor Maren Wellenreuther Plant and Food Research
Dr David Whitehead Manaaki Whenua Landcare 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
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 Gail Pacheco Auckland University of Technology 
Professor John Perrone University of Waikato
Professor Richard Walter University of Otago 


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 
Dr 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 Vedamuthu Kennedy GNS Science
Professor Nicole Kessissoglou University of New South Wales
Associate Professor Tim Woodfield University of Otago


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
Associate Professor Alex Calder University of Auckland
Professor Catharine Coleborne The University of Newcastle
Professor Tim Dare University of Auckland
Professor Jon Hall University of Otago
Dr Cherie Lacey Victoria University of Wellington 
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 Peter Forrester University of Melbourne
Professor Jörg Frauendiener​  University of Otago
Associate Professor Ivy Liu Victoria University of Wellington
Professor Stephen MacDonell Auckland University of Technology / University of Otago
Professor Gaven Martin Massey University
Professor Alistair Moffat University of Melbourne
Professor Iain Raeburn Victoria University of Wellington
Professor Scott Sisson University of New South Wales


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
Associate Professor David Barker University of Auckland
Associate Professor Nigel Lucas University of Otago
Associate Professor Megan Maher University of Melbourne
Professor Emily Parker Victoria University of Wellington
Professor Halina Rubinsztein-Dunlop University of Queensland 
Dr Harald Schwefel University of Otago
Professor David Wiltshire University of Canterbury


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 Maria Bargh Victoria University of Wellington
Professor Samuel Charlton University of Waikato
Associate Professor Sharon Harvey Auckland University of Technology
Professor Robyn Longhurst University of Waikato
Associate Professor Ruth McManus University of Canterbury
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
Associate Professor Melinda Webber* University of Auckland
Professor Poia Rewi University of Otago
Associate Professor Tamasailau Suaalii University of Auckland

 * To go on to the Social Sciences standard panel at full round

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 2020 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.