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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 Rutherford Discovery Fellowship has been discontinued. MBIE has introduced a new suite of Aotearoa New Zealand Tāwhia te Mana Research Fellowships, which will replace the Rutherford Foundation, Rutherford Discovery, and James Cook Research Fellowships from 2024. For more information, please go to: