AgResearch scientist receives prestigious scholarship

Rutherford Foundation Trust Award recipient Dr Estelle Dominati

The Rutherford Foundation Trust has awarded prestigious scholarships to nine of New Zealand’s most outstanding emerging researchers, including AgResearch scientist Estelle Dominati.

Highlights from the 2012 funding round include a range of projects, from Estelle’s work on the future of resource management in New Zealand to the treatment of osteoporosis and cardiac dysfunction in diabetes and black holes in astrophysics.

The Rutherford Foundation, which awards the scholarships, is a trust set up by the Royal Society of New Zealand to provide support to emerging New Zealand scientists.

Chair of the Trustees of the Rutherford Foundation, Professor Margaret Brimble, says it is important for our emerging researchers to gain these types of scholarships. She highlights the need for these opportunities:

“The shortage of postdoctoral positions in New Zealand is a concern for the research community. The Rutherford Foundation is therefore very pleased to offer five postdoctoral fellowships to talented PhD graduates as well as four PhD training scholarships.”

“The calibre of these young scientists was truly outstanding and the competition was extremely tough. These scientists were all undertaking research in areas of national importance.”

The five postdoctoral fellows will work at New Zealand universities and crown research institutes.

Two of the PhD scholarships will be hosted by the University of Cambridge in England. One will be hosted by the University of Michigan in the USA and the other at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

Funding for these awards comes from the New Zealand Government, the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust, the Freemasons Roskill Foundation and private donations.

The Rutherford Foundation Trust Award recipients are:

Post-doctoral Fellows:

  • Dr Peng Du, from the University of Auckland, for research into an Electrogastrogram to monitor the health of stomach muscles
  • Jamie Howarth, GNS Science, for research into the history of earthquakes around the Alpine Fault
  • Dr Kimberley Mellor, University of Auckland, for research into cardiac dysfunction in diabetes
  • Dr Estelle Dominati, AgResearch, for the future of resource management in New Zealand
  • Dr Renata Kowalczyk, University of Auckland, research into new drug treatments for osteoporosis

International PhD students:

  • Jordan McMahon, going to the University of Michigan where he will conduct research into the field of abstract algebra, which has particular importance in quantum physics
  • Thomas Wright, going to the University of Oxford, to study the chemistry of proteins
  • Scott Thomas, going to University of Cambridge, to undertake his PhD at the Institute of Astronomy
  • Patricia Larsen, going to the University of Cambridge to complete a PhD in Cosmology.

For further information:

Media contact
Rutherford Foundation
Dr Mark Stagg
Phone: (04) 470 5790
Email: mark.stagg@royalsociety.org.nz