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About the MBIE Science Whitinga Fellowship

The MBIE Science Whitinga Fellowship is aimed at supporting excellent early career researchers impacted by COVID-19 in the New Zealand research science system. This is a one-off initiative and will provide support of around $10 million over two years for 30 Fellows.

Current Status

The application portal is open from Friday 26 February.

The Society will hold a virtual road-show in  March, to give applicants and support staff an opportunity to ask question about the Fellowship. The Road-show will be advertised in advance on this website and via email to research offices. More information will be provided no later than Friday 12 March 2021.


The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on world economy and is likely to have long-term adverse impacts on the Research, Science and Innovation workforce.  In response to the reduced opportunities experienced by New Zealand early career researchers (ECRs), MBIE is providing this one-off funding opportunity to support the retention and development of ECRs with the potential to excel in a research environment.

The Fellowship intends to support up and coming researchers to rise and establish a career in their chosen field of research. This is captured in the name of the Fellowship ‘Te whitinga mai o te rā,’ which can translate to “the rising of the sun”.


30 Fellows will be selected for a two-year Fellowship to undertake research in any field (including the humanities, mātauranga and social science) at an eligible New Zealand research institution.

Te Whitinga Fellowship will be administered by the Royal Society Te Apārangi for the New Zealand Government. The final decision on the applicants who will be awarded a fellowship will be made by MBIE.

Funding available

The two year Te Whitinga Fellowship will award per annum (excluding GST): 

  • $75,000 towards the researcher’s salary
  • $75,000 in organisational overheads
  • $10,000 for research-related expenses.

The total value of Te Whitinga Fellowship is $320,000 per award.


Full details of eligibility criteria will be published in the application guidelines before the Fellowship is opened to applicants in February 2021.

More information

Additional information on eligibility and the selection process will be made available at the opening of the funding round.

A tentative timeline of the round has been indicated below.

26 February Funding round open
April 20, 2021 Funding round close
June, 2021 Results announced
01 July 2021 Earliest contract start date
31 December 2021 Latest contract start date (unless otherwise agreed to by Royal Society Te Apārangi)