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Tāwhia te Mana Fellowships - General Information

Eligibility

Ethnicity and Gender

Application Content

Application Portal

Tāwhia te Mana Fellowships - General Information

What are the Aotearoa New Zealand Tāwhia te Mana Research Fellowships?

The Aotearoa New Zealand Tāwhia te Mana Research Fellowships are a major investment in our research workforce, designed to better support a range of research organisations and talented future research leaders across career stages. The new Fellowships will replace the previous Royal Society Te Apārangi-Led Fellowships for Excellence scheme (Rutherford Discovery, Rutherford Foundation and James Cook Research Fellowships) to provide greater support to more Fellows each year.

Why has this scheme been created?

The Aotearoa New Zealand Tāwhia te Mana Research Fellowships are one part of a package of announced initiatives to address the changing needs of the science, innovation and technology sector and its varied workforce, including meeting skills shortages, improving career stability, increasing collaboration and mobility, and providing more opportunity for workforce diversity.

What do you hope to achieve with the new fellowships?

The objective of the Aotearoa New Zealand Tāwhia te Mana Research Fellowships is to develop and retain the future leaders of our science, innovation and technology system. It is expected of these fellowships to provide more opportunities for researchers; recognise and reward a broader range of research achievements; and support a wider range of boundary-pushing research activities. The investment profile of these fellowships is intended to ensure that fellows can be hosted by a larger variety of research organisations.

How are the Tāwhia Fellowships being funded?

Budget 2023 allocated $44.38 million over four years in new funding for fellowships for emerging talent. This is baselined and, added to the existing funding, brings the full amount to around $27 million a year. This roughly triples MBIE’s direct investment in research fellowships. This funding will invest in around 300 fellows over the next decade, awarding around 20 early-career, around 10 mid-career and 1 to 2 distinguished researcher fellowships each year.

Following an open tender process to determine a provider for the Aotearoa New Zealand Tāwhia te Mana Research Fellowships, the Royal Society Te Apārangi were selected to administer the Fellowships on MBIE’s behalf.

Why are you ending the Rutherford Foundation, Rutherford Discovery and James Cook Research Fellowships?

The previous portfolio of fellowships needed to be updated to be fit-for-purpose so New Zealand can develop a research workforce that meets public and private sector needs. The purchasing power of the funding had eroded over the years and there was a gap in investment in early career stages, which we know is a crucial stage to keep the workforce so they can continue on to be research leaders for New Zealand.

Given the significant uplift in salary and overhead contribution and standardisation of fellowship term length for a number of the fellowships that will be distributed, MBIE found these changes are significant enough that it is important to distinguish the old portfolio from the new one and from other similar international offerings. While there are fewer changes to the distinguished researcher fellowship offering, MBIE decided to increase the flexibility of the terms and shift the assessment criteria as part of the wider Tāwhia Fellowships portfolio.

Therefore, the Budget 2023 workforce support initiative package was focussed on creating a larger and enhanced scheme of fellowships to replace these older fellowships, as well as creating an applied doctorates scheme. MBIE intends these Fellowships to:

  • deliver improved career outcomes
  • provide better funding for fellows and host organisations
  • encourage a wider range of research organisations to host fellows
  • simplify the application processes.

How are the ‘new’ fellowships different from the ‘old’ ones?

The Aotearoa New Zealand Tāwhia te Mana Research Fellowships have been designed to develop and retain the future leaders of New Zealand’s science, innovation and technology system.

The value of the awards is significantly increased from the current rates to reflect salary and overhead costs. The duration for the Tūāpapa early-career fellowships will be increased to four years to allow greater opportunities for career development, including doctoral student supervision and competing for contestable funding processes. A streamlined application and assessment process will reduce the burden of applications while improving accessibility for Māori and Pacific peoples, who are underrepresented in the research workforce.

What happens to existing fellows still receiving funding from the ‘old’ fellowships?

The Rutherford Discovery, Rutherford Foundation and James Cook Research Fellowships will no longer be offered from 2024, but researchers undertaking these fellowships will continue to be supported at the current funding levels for the duration of those awards. The Royal Society Te Apārangi will continue to manage these fellows for the duration of existing awards.

Who is eligible to apply?

The new fellowships have three schemes that are tailored to support researchers at different career stages to produce excellent and impactful research and to develop into leaders of the Aotearoa New Zealand research system.

Complete eligibility criteria are available in the Terms of Reference.

What is the duration and award values of the new Fellowships?

The three individual schemes under the Aotearoa New Zealand Tāwhia te Mana Research Fellowships have the following durations and award values that are designed to support the Fellow to succeed at their particular career stage:

The Rutherford Discovery Fellowship was for 5 years. Why is this new Fellowship better?

The fellowships include salary contributions and research expenses appropriate for a mid-career researcher. They will encourage a greater diversity of both applicants and hosts, and have improved overhead funds which will provide better support to the fellows during while they complete the fellowship.

When do applications open?

We expect the first round of the Aotearoa New Zealand Tāwhia te Mana Research Fellowships to open for applications in mid-2024.

How many Fellowships will be awarded?

We expect the Aotearoa New Zealand Tāwhia te Mana Research Fellowships will support about 30 new Fellowships each year, consisting of:

Why is there a focus on early-career researchers with these new schemes?

Researchers at early career stages are particularly vulnerable to dropping out of the system, and structural barriers can make it challenging for researchers to re-enter the science, innovation and technology system. The previous fellowships did not provide much support for those who had recently received their PhD, so the fellowships and applied doctorates are therefore targeted at providing an increased number of opportunities and more diverse career pathways for researchers at these career stages. This will ensure Aotearoa New Zealand has the vibrant, diverse and skilled science, innovation and technology workforce it needs to take on the opportunities and challenges ahead.

There will still be the same amount of fellowships offered for mid-career and distinguished researchers, ten and two respectively, and the investment is higher.

How will successful applicants be chosen?

The selection process will be determined by the Ministry in conjunction with the Royal Society Te Apārangi. This process will reflect MBIE’s Diversity in Science Statement, with a commitment to ensure equity, diversity and inclusion in the final cohort of funded Fellows. The selection process will be published on the Society’s website when the Fellowships open for applications.

What sort of research will the fellowships fund? Will they prioritise any field of research?

The new fellowships will be open to researchers from all fields of research with no emphasis or prioritisation of subject area.

How will the fellowships create opportunities for Māori, Pacific peoples and women / Why are these communities a priority?

The assessment process for the new fellowships will ensure a minimum number of awards are made each year to outstanding Māori and Pacific researchers so the research workforce better reflects New Zealand’s population. It will also ensure that around half of the awards are made to researchers who identify as female.

These communities are under-represented in New Zealand’s science, innovation and technology workforce. MBIE is committed to eliminating barriers to entry, as the diversity, equity and inclusiveness of our workforce is vital to a thriving science, innovation and technology system that contributes to the wellbeing of all New Zealanders. There are several pressing issues that Aotearoa New Zealand faces that will require more varied research production and application, and investing in a wider range of researchers will help us to do so.

Will the Aotearoa New Zealand Tāwhia te Mana Research Fellowships be ongoing?

Yes, the Aotearoa New Zealand Tāwhia te Mana Research Fellowships funding is baselined and the scheme will continue to operate for the foreseeable future.

How will you know if the new schemes are working better than existing ones?

The new scheme will be monitored by MBIE to track the objective of developing and retaining Aotearoa New Zealand’s next generation of science, innovation and technology leaders. MBIE has the flexibility to review the settings of the schemes to better deliver on this objective.

What does the naming of the Aotearoa New Zealand Tāwhia te Mana Research Fellowships schemes mean?

The Māori terms in the fellowship names reference the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s values karakia, which includes Tāwhia tō Mana (building and retaining your reputation) as part of enabling the aspiration to “Grow Aotearoa New Zealand for all”. Tāwhia te Mana Fellowships contribute to building excellence in the SI&T sector.

  • early researchers/future leaders building the foundations of their career (Mana Tūāpapa)
  • mid-career researchers further establishing themselves as research leaders (Mana Tūānuku)
  • distinguished researchers with expansive career success and a prominent international reputation (Mana Tūārangi).

Do the Fellowships increase the financial burden on universities hosting Fellows, given the recent budget cuts?

The Fellowships substantially increase overhead funding going to the host organisation, as well as increasing the contribution to the Fellow’s salary. Compared to the old Fellowships, this new configuration would lessen the financial burden on universities to host and support Fellows.

Eligibility

Visa Status:

I have a New Zealand Resident Visa, am I eligible to apply?

Unfortunately, you must hold New Zealand Citizenship or a New Zealand Permanent Resident Visa at the time of application to be eligible to apply for a Tāwhia te Mana Fellowship.

We cannot pre-empt the decisions of Immigration New Zealand. Even if you are eligible to apply, have already applied, or plan to apply, for permanent residency, we are unfortunately not able to grant exceptions to the eligibility requirement.

I am an Australian Citizen (or Australian Permanent Resident Visa Holder), am I eligible to apply?

Unfortunately, only New Zealand Citizens or New Zealand Permanent Residents at the time of application are eligible to apply for a Tāwhia te Mana Fellowship.

As an Australian Citizen you can be granted a resident visa upon arrival in New Zealand. However, you can only apply for a permanent resident visa after having continuously held a resident visa for 24 months and fulfil other criteria for a permanent resident visa. We recommend you consider applying for permanent residency if you intend to continue to your research career in New Zealand and may apply for a Tāwhia te Mana Fellowship in future.

Employment Status:

Does employment status affect my eligibility to apply for a Tāwhia te Mana Fellowship?

No, people with any employment status are eligible to apply for a Tāwhia te Mana Fellowship, provided that you have an organisation willing to host you during your fellowship, if successful.  While some previous fellowships administered by the Royal Society Te Apārangi have had requirements that applicants are "not permanently employed", this is not a requirement for any of the Tāwhia te Mana Fellowships.

Past Fellowship Recipients:

Does having been awarded another fellowship affect my eligibility to apply for a Tāwhia te Mana Fellowship?

In two cases, yes:

  • If you have been awarded a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship in the past you are not eligible to apply for a Mana Tūānuku Research Leader Fellowship.
  • If you have been awarded a James Cook Research Fellowship in the past you are not eligible to apply for a Mana Tūārangi Distinguished Researcher Fellowship.

If you have been awarded any other Fellowship (other than Rutherford Discovery or James Cook) in the past, it does not affect your eligibility to apply for a Tāwhia te Mana Fellowship.

Career gaps:

My research career has been disrupted by other circumstances since my PhD was conferred, which fellowship should I apply for?

The eligibility period for PhD conferral for any of the fellowships may be extended under any of the following scenarios at the discretion of the Royal Society Te Apārangi:

  • extended sickness leave
  • part-time employment or career interruptions because of care giving responsibilities
  • to account for work or service in the community or an industry
  • as otherwise agreed by the Society.

This Career Gaps Calculator can be used to determine your years of research experience and which fellowship you are eligible to apply for.  Please detail the nature of any career disruptions in your Narrative CV for the selection panel's information.

I have worked in a teaching-only position since my PhD was conferred, how do I calculate my years of research experience?

If you have a period of employment in a teaching-only position, this should be treated like time in industry and input into the Career Gaps Calculator as "0". Please detail the nature of any career disruptions in your Narrative CV for the selection panel's information.

I worked part-time in a research position, but not for childcare purposes, how do I calculate my years of research experience?

Generally any period of part-time work should be entered into the Career Gaps Calculator at the FTE you worked.  Please detail the nature of any career disruptions in your Narrative CV for the selection panel's information.

I have twins, do I get 2 years extension per pregnancy or per child?

You can apply for an extension of 2 years per child, even if those children happen to have been born at the same time.

PhD Qualification:

Do I require a PhD to apply for a Tāwhia te Mana Fellowship?

Yes, you must have a PhD or completed all the requirements to have your PhD conferred at the time of application to be eligible.

I have submitted my PhD thesis, am I eligible to apply?

You are only eligible to apply for a Tāwhia te Mana Fellowship if you have completed all the requirements to have your PhD conferred at the time of application.  This would normally involve completing a defence of your thesis.  Check with your awarding organisation to confirm whether you have completed all the requirements for your PhD to be awarded, they will be able to supply you with a letter to this effect as evidence.

I have a professional doctorate, am I eligible to apply?

Consistent with NZQA, we could consider a professional doctorate equivalent to a PhD if it “requires at least 360 credits and is listed at level 10”.  If you are unsure if your degree complies with this, please get in touch with the awarding institution.

Host Eligibility:

Who can host a Tāwhia te Mana Fellowship?

The host must be a New Zealand-based research organisation that can demonstrate it is capable and willing to provide support and facilities that will enable the applicant to succeed in their Fellowship.

The host cannot be a department of the public service as listed in Part 1 of Schedule 2 to the Public Service Act 2020.

Eligible hosts are research organisations based in New Zealand that meet the following definition: ‘An organisation that has sufficient internal capability for carrying out research, science or technology, or related activities in New Zealand.’

For more information please see Host a Tāwhia te Mana Fellowship.

Ethnicity and Gender

How do the Tāwhia te Mana Fellowships ensure diversity of recipients?

The selection process for each fellowship is different, and therefore diversity targets will be addressed in different ways.

The Mana Tūāpapa Future Leader Fellowship will use a selection ballot to ensure (where practicable) that at least 20% of selected fellows whakapapa Māori, 10% identify as being Pacific Peoples and 50% who identify as female, where practicable.

For the Mana Tūānuku Research Leader the discipline-based and interview panels are asked to take into consideration the diversity targets of the fellowships during their deliberations.  The selection process will aim to ensure (where practicable) that around 20% of fellowships are awarded to applicants who whakapapa Māori, around 10% who identify as being of Pacific ethnicity and around 50% identify as female.

The Mana Tūānuku Distinguished Researcher Fellowship are awarded to only an estimated two recipients per year, making it difficult to define annual diversity targets for these fellowships. The gender and ethnicity demographics of recipients will be recorded from year to year and the selection panels asked to consider the diversity of recipients awarded fellowships over time. 

Who is included within Pacific Peoples for the purposes of Tāwhia te Mana Fellowship?

MBIE have deemed, for the purposes of this Fellowship, Pacific ethnicity is intended to take into consideration the complex configurations and multiple ethnic identities of Pacific Peoples and cultures. It is intended to be inclusive of people who affirm their identity as Indigenous Pacific Peoples and those of Fijian Indian descent.

For Mana Tūāpapa, if at least 50% of recipients will identify as female, and gender diverse is an option on the demographics section of the application, how does the ballot process consider gender diverse applicants?

In the first ballot four applicants are drawn who identify as Māori from the applicant pool. Next two applicants are drawn who identify as Pacific Persons, including those who may identify as both Māori and Pacific Persons. We note how many of the six selected fellows identify as female.

In the general selection ballot, the remaining applicant pool (including any previously unselected Māori and Pacific Persons) is sorted randomly. We then select the top applicants identifying as female and gender diverse from this list until a total of 10 female fellows are selected. In doing so, if a gender diverse candidate is randomly listed higher than the 10th female, the cut will include both the required minimum of 10 females and the gender diverse person, making the total 11. Keeping the order constant, we then go back to the top of our list, and select the top remaining fellows (which will be predominantly males and non-responders excluded from the selection above, but could also include additional female and gender diverse candidates) until the total of twenty fellows have been drawn.

This selection ballot has been designed to ensure that the likelihood of a gender diverse candidate being selected for the fellowship is not significantly different (P>0.05 from simulations) from the rate at which gender diverse people are likely to apply for the fellowship. For more information on the selection ballot process see Github.

Application Content

Research Area:

What areas of research can be submitted to the Tāwhia te Mana Fellowships?

Applicants are welcome to submit applications in any area of research, including clinical health research.

Proposal:

Can I include images and/or tables in my application?

You are welcome to include images and/or tables in your application.  You must still comply to the page limits, margins and other formatting as outlined in the 'How to submit your application' section of the application guidelines.

Should I provide references for my research proposal?

Yes, you should include references with your research proposal.  These should be included within the page count of the proposed research template.

Are references included with the page limit for the proposed research/proposal template?

Yes, references are included within the page limit.  This is THREE pages if no Vision Mātauranga Themes have been identified, or FOUR pages if one or more Vision Mātauranga Themes have been identified as being relevant to the proposal.

It is important to support the Research Plan by means of references. Please ensure that these are not restricted to your own work. Please also ensure that the references have been published, to ensure that they are readily accessible when the proposal is being assessed. Authors must verify all references.

  • The list can be in 10-point font size.
  • Start each reference on a new line (numbering is optional).
  • For three or more authors, list the first three names followed by “et al.”
  • Ensure you include the journal name (abbreviated if desired), year of publication, volume number and page numbers.
  • If you wish, you can bold your own references.

Referees:

What do I do if I have fallen out with my former supervisor and I can’t ask them for a referee report for Mana Tūāpapa?

There may be certain situations where it is not possible or appropriate for a former supervisor to provide a referee report for your Mana Tūāpapa Future Leader Fellowship application. If this is the case for you, please contact the Secretariat via email tawhia@royalsociety.org.nz or phone + 64 4 470 5764 explaining your unique situation, and we can approve the use of an alternative referee (e.g. a secondary supervisor, or a senior research colleague) if the situation calls for it.

How flexible are the conflict rules for referees?

Generally it is best to avoid using referees with what the panel will see as having a conflict of interest (for more information on conflicts of interest please see the applicant guidelines) supporting your application.  The panel will recognise this may be difficult for very early career researchers.  In particular, an exemption to this rule is allowed for the supervisor of an applicant’s PhD programme for applicants with their PhD conferred less than three years ago. 

It is up to applicants to select the best referees to support their proposal.  These referees will be people who can comment on their research capacity and leadership, but who do not have a conflict of interest where possible.  It is ultimately the panel who will review these conflicts of interest and take these into consideration in their funding deliberations.

Narrative CV:

How do I fill out a Narrative CV?

Further information on Narrative CVs including examples and a webinar can be found on the MBIE website.

Host support:

Should the 'Host Support' section be generic for a whole institution or specific for each applicant?

Parts of this page may be generic to all applicants from an institution (e.g. Host commitment to embed te Tiriti o Waitangi) and other parts should include how the individual fellow will be supported depending on their cultural background, research field, research approaches and other aspects.  There might be specific support structures or research requirements in a particular department/school, that may not be applicable to all applicants from the same institution. 

Budget:

Can Funding for the Mana Tūārangi Distinguished Researcher Fellowship be used for overheads?

Yes, funds from the Mana Tūārangi Distinguished Researcher Fellowship can be used for any amount of overheads up to maximum contribution of 100% of FTE. It is our expectation that the host organisation will work with applicants to maximise the benefit of the award.

How do I prepare a budget for a Mana Tūānuku Research Leader Fellowship if I am planning to work less than 0.8 FTE on the proposed research project?

If you are planning to work less than 0.8 FTE (minimum 0.4 FTE) on your fellowship, how you prepare your budget depends on what you are doing with the other FTE. 

If you are performing:

  • Other research

To encourage development of leadership and track record, Fellows are able to incorporate research and leadership opportunities into their 0.8 FTE commitment to the Mana Tūānuku fellowship, where these activities are aligned with their Mana Tūānuku objectives.  Released salary (and overheads) as a consequence of the other research (e.g. other research grants with a paid FTE component) can therefore be re-allocated to other research costs, preferably personnel, to help out with the Fellowship objectives. This is similar to how the Royal Society Te Apārangi administers the Rutherford Discovery Fellowship. 

  • Family or care responsibilities

The Fellowship may be undertaken on a part-time basis to enable the Fellow to fulfil family and/or care responsibilities, including personal care, subject to agreement by the host and Royal Society Te Apārangi, in which case the duration of the Fellowship may be extended up to a maximum of eight years.

  • Activities that don’t support leadership or building a track record (e.g. teaching, admin or clinical work)

The salary and overhead contributions of the award will be pro-rated to the requested FTE. The $115,000 contribution to the researcher’s salary is equivalent to 0.8 FTE.  This would reduce the total amount of funding for the fellowship.  The 60k per annum of research expenses remains the same in order to allow the Fellow to carry out their research activities. This is similar to how HRC administers their Hercus Fellowship career support scheme.

How do I prepare a budget for a Mana Tūāpapa Future Leader Fellowship if I already have more than 0.2 FTE funding from other sources?

OR

What happens to funding from my Mana Tūāpapa Future Leader Fellowship if I am successful in being awarded other funding?

To encourage development of leadership and track record, Fellows are able to incorporate research and leadership opportunities into their 0.8 FTE commitment to the Mana Tūāpapa fellowship, where these activities are aligned with their Mana Tūāpapa objectives.  Released salary (and overheads) as a consequence of the other research (e.g. other research grants with a paid FTE component) can therefore be re-allocated to other research costs, preferably personnel, to help out with the Fellowship objectives. This is similar to how the Royal Society Te Apārangi administers the Rutherford Discovery Fellowship. 

This FTE Calculator can help work out FTEs for you fellowship based on other funding you have.

How do I prepare a budget if 0.8 FTE of my salary is less than the salary contribution coming from the fellowship?

If you earn less than the salary contribution for 0.8 FTE in any one year for Mana Tūāpapa or Mana Tūānuku fellowships, the salary should be reduced to your predicted salary.  The overhead contribution should be reduced pro rata and should not exceed 100% of the salary amount.  Released salary and overhead funds can be re-allocated to other research costs.

If my host organsiation cannot award postdoctoral degrees, can I have a postgraduate student?

Yes.  You can act as a primary supervisor for a postgraduate student.  You will likely need to have a co-supervisor at an organisation that can award postdoctoral degrees.  They may or may not require a small FTE contribution to act as a co-supervisor, this can (but is not required to) be funded out of the fellowship expendables funding.

Application Portal

I am having trouble with the application portal, what do I do?

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