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Please download application guideline here

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The Royal Society Te Apārangi-Rutherford Foundation (the Foundation) was established as a Charitable Trust in 2008 with the aim of building human capability in science and technology by providing support for excellent New Zealand early career researchers. The Foundation offered scholarships and fellowships, which carried the hallmark of excellence enabling strong connections to New Zealand to be maintained, thereby increasing the benefits to New Zealand that accrue from the investment in these recipients. The Trust was wound up in 2018 when the management of the Foundation’s funding opportunities was transferred to the Royal Society Te Apārangi (the Society).


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The objectives of the Rutherford Foundation Fellowships and Scholarships are to support the education and development of promising excellent early career researchers with the potential to excel in a research environment.

The funding opportunities support early career researchers who demonstrate a passion for research, science and technology, and have a strong sense of the purpose and benefits of research to New Zealand.

Receipt of a Rutherford Foundation award is expected to have a significant value in the future career development of the supported Scholars and Fellows and help them to establish a foundation on which to embark on an independent research career.


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About the Fellowship

The Rutherford Foundation New Zealand Postdoctoral Fellowship will award $75,000 per annum towards the researcher’s salary and $10,000 (GST excl.) per annum in research-related expenses. Up to 10 Fellowships can be awarded in the 2019 funding round. Fellowships and Scholarships are awarded on a full-time basis (1 FTE), unless otherwise agreed to by the Society.


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Eligibility Criteria

The award criteria must ensure successful proposals are consistent with the background and objectives of the Fellowships stated above.

The Rutherford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship are open to early-career researchers. For the purpose of the Rutherford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, early-career researchers are researchers whose doctoral degrees were conferred no more than four years prior to the year in which the fellowship is awarded.

  • For the 2019 funding round, applicant’s PhD must have been conferred on or after 01 January 2015.
    • An exemption to this clause can be sought to allow applicants to demonstrate that their PhD has been submitted and can be examined by the date of short-listing.
    • A further exemption can be sought to demonstrate a reasonable absence from a research career, for instance to take parental leave or for extended sickness leave.
    • Applicants must be supported by a New Zealand-based research institution that can provide the appropriate support and facilities to enable the applicant to succeed in their Fellowship for the full two years of the Fellowship's term.
    • Applicants from all fields or research, science and technology, including social sciences and the humanities, are eligible to apply.
    • Applicants must be either New Zealand citizens, or have continuously resided in New Zealand for at least two years immediate prior to their application and hold, or be deemed to hold, a New Zealand resident visa.
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Selection Criteria

  • Demonstration of academic excellence
  • Quality of the proposed research programme
  • Depth of understanding of the proposed research, its ultimate purpose, and benefits to New Zealand
  • Additional criterion that may be considered: transfer of skills.
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Additional Rules

  • Successful applicants must commence their programme of research within 6 months of the award notification unless otherwise agreed to by the Society.
  • If the applicant is not already an employee of the host institution, the host must agree to employ the applicant for the duration of the fellowship.
  • Demonstration of academic excellence
  • Quality of the proposed research programme
  • Depth of understanding of the proposed research, its ultimate purpose, and benefits to New Zealand
  • Additional criterion that may be considered: transfer of skills.
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Closing date

Applications and supporting information must be submitted to the Royal Society Te Apārangi on the Rutherford Foundation Proposals on-line portal by the closing date of 01 August 2019 at 5 pm (NZST)

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Application Process

Proposals must be submitted on the web-based portal, Proposals On-Line.

  • Researchers must contact their host institution’s research office coordinator to obtain their login details for the Proposals On-Line system.
  • Researchers should write their proposals directly into Proposals On-Line using the forms and templates provided with the original formatting retained. The templates can be downloaded directly from Proposals On-line.
  • Separate instructions on using Proposals On-Line are available. 
  • Please note that paper copies (including declarations) are not required when submitting a proposal through the Proposals On-Line portal. Proposals On-Line has a document printing facility which can be used to view and print the application for checking and your own records.
  • The layout of the entire application on Proposals On-Line is automatic.  The limit on space in all sections of the templates should be adhered to and the typeface should be 11 point, Times or similar type font, single spacing (11 point), with margins of 2 cm on the left and 2 cm on the right sides of the page.  Instructions in italic may be removed, but not the margins.  No additional pages or attachments will be accepted other than where requested or required.





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Assistance with filling out the on-line application form

The on-line application consists of information entered directly into the portal in combination with the upload of specific templates and documents. The following is an overview of all the sections of the application, an explanation for each section, and information on how to enter the information on the on-line application portal.




Type of entry

Section 1-2

Applicant details and eligibility

Entered on-line

Section 3-6

Qualification(s), previous employment history, awards, and other notable contributions

Download the “Qualifications and career history” template. Upload completed form when finished.

Section 7-8

Research title and summary

Entered on-line

Section 9-15

Background, aim(s) or research, proposed research, references, why do you want to do this research, timetable, and full list of publications

Download the “Research” template. Upload completed form when finished.

Section 16


Entered on-line

Supporting information

-          Proof of citizenship or residency

-          Academic transcript(s) including undergraduate and PhD studies.

-          A declaration form signed by you, your supervisor, and a duly authorised agent at the host organisation

-          Upload copy

-          Upload copy (1 file for all transcripts)

-          Download the declaration template and upload when signed

Table 1: Application contents

Applicant’s details

This section is for personal details.  It identifies who you are and where you can be contacted most readily.  Complete this section, providing all details.  If any of your contact details should change at any stage after the application is submitted, please inform the Society as soon as possible.


From 2019, there is a facility in this section of the portal for applicants to add or create an ORCID ID (https://orcid.org/). An ORCID ID is preferred from all applicants, but is not mandatory.  Please click on the "Create or Connect your ORCID ID" button on the top right of the "Contact Details" section and follow instructions.

Eligibility and Research codes

Fields of research (FOR) classification:

The FOR classification allows research and development (R&D) activity to be categorised according to the field of research.  In this respect, it is the methodology used in the R&D that is being considered.  Please enter up to three codes from the list of research codes supplied in “Fields of Research Classification Codes” here. Please use codes that are as specific as possible, i.e. 6 digits.

Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) classification:

The Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC) and SEO classification allow R&D activity in Australia and New Zealand to be categorised according to the intended purpose or outcome of the research rather than the processes or techniques used in order to achieve this objective.  The purpose categories include processes, products, health, education and other social and environmental aspects in Australia and New Zealand that R&D activity aims to improve.  Please enter up to three codes from the list of “socio-economic objectives codes” here. 

Date PhD conferred (dd/mm/yyyy)

Enter the date that your PhD was conferred. You also need to scan and upload a copy of your academic transcript showing when your doctoral degree was conferred (see Supporting Information). The Society reserve the right to request original or certified copies of the documents prior to announcing short-listed applicants.


Please select from the drop down menu whether you are a New Zealand Citizen or hold/are deemed to hold a New Zealand resident visa. If you hold, or are deemed to hold, a New Zealand resident visa, you need to indicate how long you have resided in New Zealand immediately prior to this application. Proof of citizenship or residency must be scanned and uploaded to Proposal On-line (see Supporting information). Original or certified copies of the documents may be requested by the Rutherford Foundation Secretariat.

Proposed supervisor

Please enter the name, department and email address of your proposed supervisor.

Eligibility exemption (if applicable)

Please enter the reasons for why you are asking for a PhD exemption (e.g. thesis submitted but not yet conferred, parental leave or extended sickness leave). Note that this requires prior approval from the Society.

Qualifications (Degrees/Diplomas completed)

Please enter the date the qualification was granted, the type of qualification, and the institution from which it was granted. You can add additional rows if needed.

Previous employment history and career interruptions (if applicable)

Please include up to three of the positions you’ve held immediately prior to your current role. You should add additional rows if needed to add periods of career interruptions as described below.

Applicants who have had longer periods of career interruptions (e.g. parental leave, illness, and/or longer periods of part time work) should additionally list these interruptions here. This information will further aid panellists in assessing your research relative to opportunity.


Please enter the type of award and the year you received the award.

Other notable contributions

Please enter other notable contributions that demonstrate your capabilities as a researcher (e.g. awarded research or travel grants, conference chairs, speaker invitations, editorial boards, conference committees etc.).

Title of proposed research

Please provide a title that describes the nature of your proposed programme of research.  Keep the title brief and to the point.

Project Summary

Please provide a summary of the planned project suitable for a lay audience with some limited science knowledge, and using a maximum of 500 words.


Using only ONE page, please give the context for the proposal by summarising in plain English the state of the knowledge in the field and any research you have undertaken in this area.

Overall aim(s) of the research

Please state, in ONE page or less, the general goals and objectives of the research proposal. Emphasise how the research will create potential benefits to New Zealand and advance knowledge.

Proposed research

Using a maximum of two pages, please describe the proposed research including where appropriate, the hypothesis being tested, the methodology that will be used, sampling design, methods of data analysis and major milestones.


Using only ONE page, please list bibliographical or other references, including full titles, used in any of the above sections.

Why do you want to do this research?

Please outline, in half a page or less, why you want to do this project in the context of how you intend to develop your future research career. If your previous host and/or mentor is the same as what you have proposed for this Fellowship, please clearly state why this is most beneficial to your future research career.


In half a page or less, please describe in general terms the anticipated course of the research programme, including timelines for the milestones described in section 8.  It is acknowledged that this timetable may change as the research progresses.


Please enter the names and contact details of three referees who have agreed to provide a reference for you.  You are expected to include a supervisor of your Doctoral programme.  If you have already undertaken Postdoctoral research, the supervisor of this research should comprise the second referee.

When you have entered the referee names, and ensured that they are willing to provide the Rutherford Foundation with a reference for you before the application closing date of 01 August 2019, you need to select “SEND EMAIL”. Upon selecting “SEND EMAIL”, an automatic email will be sent to your referee with a URL access link to a web portal where the referee can upload the reference.

It is prudent for you to check that the referees have received the invitation to review your application and the URL link.  Occasionally, the email that is automatically generated when selecting “SEND EMAIL” is inadvertently identified as spam and ends up in a referees ‘junk’ folder in their email client. In this case, you can ask your referee to contact us by email.

Note that as the invite for referee reports are sent out before the application closing date, the Society is unable to attach a copy of your project description to the referee invite. We will therefore ask the referee to contact you should they wish to see more information on your proposed research.

If a referee informs you that he or she for some reason can’t upload a referee report before the deadline, you can enter an additional referee on the On-line Proposals web portal. In the instance where the society receives more than three referee reports, we will use the first three reports received.

You can check if the Society has received each of the applicant-solicited referee reports by logging in to the proposals on-line system and go to the Referees section.

Please remember that it is your responsibility to ensure that your referees upload their report to the portal no later than the closing date for applications, i.e. 01 August 2019 at 5 pm (NZST).

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Supporting information

In addition to the completed electronic application, applicants must upload electronic copies of the following documents (scanned jpeg or PDF preferred):

  • A declaration form signed by you, your supervisor, and a duly authorised agent at the host organisation confirming that the proposed host institution and supervisor support the application.
  • Proof of New Zealand citizenship or residency.
  • Academic transcript(s) including undergraduate and PhD studies.

Note:  The Society may request to see original or certified copies of the above documents.


The Society encourages applications from all eligible members of the New Zealand research community.  To monitor the profile of different groups of applicants and identify funding trends and gaps, the Society would appreciate applicants providing the information requested in this section of Proposals On-Line.  The statistical data will be used by the Royal Society Te Apārangi for statistical purposes only. Note that this information will not form part of your application (with the exception of the year your PhD was conferred as entered under section 2 of the application).

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Submitting your application

Once you are happy with your application, you must mark it as COMPLETED. To do this, select Preview/Print from the left hand menu, followed by “Mark as Completed”. This flags to your institution coordinator that the proposal has been completed and can be released to the Society. If you need to make changes to your application after you have marked it as completed, you must confer with your research office first.

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Selection Process

The Society will appoint a selection panel, chaired by the President of the Royal Society, or their nominee, to oversee the selection process. The assessment of proposals is a two-stage process:

  • Stage one is a short-listing for an interview by the Selection Panel
  • Stage two is the interviewing of short-listed applicants by the Selection Panel.

Applicants invited to interview will have their flight expenses covered by the Society. Applicants that are unable to travel to the interview may request to have the interview conducted by videoconference.

All applicants will be notified in late September as to whether they have been invited to interview. Successful applicants will be notified in November or December (TBC).

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Application templates

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