Prestigious fellowships funding NZ research

Virtual babies, breast cancer genomics and criminal psychology are just a few subjects to be studied by researchers awarded prestigious fellowships this week.

BabyX, developed by the Auckland Bioengineering Institute, will be used by one of the Rutherford Discovery Fellows to study adult-baby interactions.

The recipients of two separate sets of fellowships were announced yesterday, totalling millions of dollars of research funding for established and up-and-coming researchers.

Twelve of New Zealand’s most talented early to mid-career researchers have been awarded Rutherford Discovery Fellowships, providing funding of up to $800,000 each over five years to cover salary and research costs.

Research funded through the Rutherford Discovery Fellowships includes: analysing adult-baby interactions using a virtual baby (Dr Annette Henderson, University of Auckland), research determining who should receive genetic testing for breast cancer and interpreting the test results (Dr Logan Walker, University of Otago) and studying what stops convicted sex offenders from re-offending (Dr Gwenda Willis, University of Auckland). You can read the full list of recipients on the Royal Society of New Zealand website.

Four researchers also received James Cook Research Fellowships, awarded to academics at the height of their research careers. The fellowships provide $200,000 over to two years to free researchers from administrative and teaching duties, allowing them to focus on their chosen research topic. Read more about the 2015 fellows here.

The fellowships are administered by the Royal Society of New Zealand on behalf of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.