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Apply for Rutherford Discovery Fellowships

Information on how to apply for a Fellowship.

The Rutherford Discovery Fellowships will support the development of future research leaders, and assist with the retention and repatriation of New Zealand’s talented early- to mid- career researchers. It operates under the Terms of Reference issued by the Minister of Science and Innovation. Receipt of a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship is expected to have significant value in the future career of a researcher. The Fellowship will:

  • Provide support for ten early- to mid-career researchers each year (as defined by being between three and eight years post-PhD).
  • Support the recipients for a five-year term.
  • Provide competitive funding, up to $160,000 a year.
  • Develop excellent researchers in New Zealand.

Ten prestigious Fellowships of five years in length will be awarded on a competitive basis annually, for research based in a New Zealand host institution. The Royal Society of New Zealand will have responsibility for administering the Fellowships. The scheme will be set up in a way that will promote multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary links across the science and innovation sector. The Fellowships will develop and foster the future leaders in the New Zealand science and innovation system by encouraging their career development and by enabling them to establish a solid track record for future research.

Current status

The 2021 Rutherford Discovery Fellowship application round opened on Monday 8 March and will close on Thursday 29 April. Information and guidelines for the 2021 funding round can be found below.

Changes for 2021

PLEASE NOTE: All applicants that have experienced significant visa delays because of COVID-19 will have until Thursday 15 July to confirm their resident visa status. If the visa has not been approved by then, we will regrettably have to withdraw their application at this stage. 

COVID-19: The guidelines and timetable have been written as if the 2021 round will proceed as normal. However, assessment processes may need to change at short notice in order to respond quickly to a rapidly evolving situation. Research offices and applicants will be notified if there are any changes to the assessment round. Any changes will also be posted on our website.