New initiatives to grow future research leaders for Aotearoa New Zealand

Published: 26 September 2023

MBIE has today announced details of enhanced research fellowships and a new applied doctorate scheme to grow more future leaders of research, science and innovation in Aotearoa New Zealand.

“Creating a range of opportunities, particularly for those at the early stages of their research careers, is critical to the performance and sustainability of Aotearoa New Zealand’s research, science and innovation system,” says MBIE General Manager Science System Investment and Performance Danette Olsen.

“These new initiatives will support hundreds of future leaders in research, science and innovation over the next decade and for years to come.”

The Aotearoa New Zealand Tāwhia te Mana Research Fellowships include 3 schemes that will replace the Rutherford Discovery, Rutherford Foundation and James Cook Fellowships from 2024.

  • New Zealand Mana Tūāpapa Future Leader Fellowship – for early-career researchers looking to build their reputation within their field.
  • New Zealand Mana Tūānuku Research Leader Fellowship – for mid-career researchers making the transition to research leaders.
  • New Zealand Mana Tūārangi Distinguished Researcher Fellowship – for senior researchers to extend beyond their own careers and make contributions that benefit the wider research, science and innovation system.

MBIE’s applied doctorates scheme will also start in 2024. This initiative aims to prepare more students for a wide range of careers across the research, science and innovation sector by building strong partnerships between academia, industry, iwi and research organisations.

The scheme will see several centres established to support ongoing and face-to-face collaborations between students and applied organisations.

“We’ve upgraded the fellowships and introduced an applied doctorate scheme to address issues raised by the sector, including meeting skills shortages, career stability, collaboration, mobility, and better representation,” Danette says.

“The fellowships for early and mid-career researchers have increased in value and  duration, something we know the sector has been asking for. They also include a significant institutional support component that will enable a wider range of organisations to effectively host these promising researchers.

“Key to achieving the goals of Te Ara Paerangi – Future Pathways, the multi-year reforms of the research, science and innovation system, these initiatives will also boost representation of Māori, Pacific peoples and women as future leaders in our research, science and innovation system.”

Researchers interested in Aotearoa New Zealand Tāwhia te Mana Research Fellowships are encouraged to start having conversations with potential host organisations today. MBIE will be seeking expressions of interest from potential host organisations and research partners for the applied doctorates scheme in coming months.

More information is available on the MBIE website. 

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