Kia ora from Royal Society Te Apārangi | Issue #1114

 2020 Rutherford Discovery Fellowships to accelerate research careers announced

Kia hiwa rā! Ten early-to mid-career researchers have been awarded Rutherford Discovery Fellowships that will support them to accelerate their research careers in Aotearoa.

The research programmes of the new fellowships span a wide variety of interesting topics, including:

  • Developing greater understanding of the formation and evolution of our planetary system by using observations of distant small worlds to model those that are beyond the sight of telescopes.
  • Finding out how viruses evolve to make the jump to a new host species by sequencing RNA from diverse animal species in Aotearoa and analysing any viruses present.
  • Understanding to what extent transgender people have autonomy to choose which gender affirmation steps they wish to take in Aotearoa, using surveys and applying principles of self-determination and informed consent.

This year marks the 10th year that the Rutherford Discovery Fellowships have been awarded.

Read more

Royal Society Te Apārangi remembers Dame Georgina Mace

The Society is sad to share the news of the sudden passing of Dame Georgina Mace FRS, a pioneering British ecologist and conservation scientist. 

In 2017, Dame Georgina gave a series of talks as our Rutherford Memorial Lecturer on how we should value nature in a human-dominated world (watch Dame Georgina’s lecture in full).

Dame Georgina strove to document and stem biodiversity loss with analytical rigour and a multidisciplinary approach. She will be remembered for her significant contributions to modern ecology and conservation.

Read more >

Announcing ANZCCART award winners

The New Zealand board of ANZCCART (the Australian and New Zealand Council for the Care of Animals in Research and Teaching) have awarded Britnee Southland the 2020 ANZCCART Animal Care Award. Britnee has won for her work promoting and protecting the welfare of dogs at Massey University’s canine unit.

The ANZCCART Animal Ethics Committee Member Awards have gone to Ali Cullum, a veterinarian and Animal Welfare Officer of the AgResearch Ruakura Animal Ethics Committee, and to Professor Anthony Phillips, who is Chair of the University of Auckland Animal Ethics Committee (AEC).

Read more >

Vote for your favourite '180 Seconds of Fascination' video 

This video competition showcases the research of Aotearoa's Early Career Researchers in just 3-minutes. Watch the 15 video submissions on our YouTube channel and then nominate your pick for the People's Choice Award for the one you found the most engaging, compelling, interesting or innovative.

Vote now > 
Please note you can only vote once.

He pitopito kōrero News bulletin

Hope blooms for rare kākābeak
The discovery of new wild specimens of the incredibly rare kākābeak/ngutukākā has sparked new hope for the critically endangered species.
@Department of Conservation
Professor Jim Johnston has been named the Supreme Winner at the KiwiNet Awards
Professor Jim Johnston FRSNZ has been recognised for his work as a world-renowned inorganic and materials chemist focussed on commercial outcomes. 
Evidence of a galactic T-bone crash discovered
Astronomers say for the first time they've discovered the signs another galaxy crashed into ours, leaving behind 'shells' of stars.
Kea could learn to detect 1080 poison to keep them safe
New research has revealed that an additive that makes 1080 "shiny" might be the necessary tool to teach the curious alpine parrots to avoid the toxic pellets.
Tracy Neal @RNZ
Lessons New Zealand can learn from Taiwan's pandemic response
New Zealand and Taiwan have both been internationally lauded for their successful responses to COVID-19, and now the countries have teamed up to share their secrets in a new study.
Lana Andelane @Newshub
Hope for coral reef protection
Climate change is jeopardising the world’s coral reefs but marine biologists believe corals may hold the key to their own survival.
@Te Herenga WakaVictoria University of Wellington

Rare white tūī appears during Seven Sharp story on sighting
The other day, an extremely rare white tūī was photographed within sight of Wellington's CBD. In an extraordinary turn of events, the same tūī was spotted by Seven Sharp cameras while filming a story on the sighting yesterday.

Ngā take o te wā Events

28 October, Waikato
Unravelling the web of life: Species interactions in a changing world
Global environmental changes are driving widespread species extinction. Professor Jason M. Tylianakis will discuss the role humans are playing in ecosystem disruption, why it matters and the work being done to predict species extinction in the future. 
2 November, Wellington & Online
Strengthening the wellbeing of women
Professor Jean Hay-Smith has focussed on the rehabilitation of pelvic floor muscle for women who experience incontinence and pelvic difficulties. In this inaugural professorial lecture, she will give a talk on these findings while drawing on her wider research on women and their wellbeing.
10 November, Nelson 
Materials: Fact or Fiction
MacDiarmid Institute researchers Dr Erin Leitao and Professor Bill Williams will delve into the periodic table to give us their scientific take on whether the Philosopher’s Stone from Harry Potter and Axonite from Doctor Who could be reality in a not too far off future. 
26 November, Wellington
2020 Kudos Awards Gala Dinner
The Kudos Awards celebrate and support scientific achievements and the innovators behind them. This gala provides attendees the opportunity to network with Kudos finalists and then to celebrate the 2020 winners who will be announced in a formal ceremony hosted by RNZ's Jesse Mulligan. 

Ngā whiwhinga Opportunities

Work as a scientist with the Ministry for the Environment
MFE is currently looking for a fixed term (1-year) Principal Scientist who will play a key role in driving science impact, with responsibility for strengthening our understanding of the environment. This role will directly contribute to the Ministry's expertise and depth in behavioural science.

Organisation: Ministry for the Environment
Closing date: 4 November

Wānanga Ipurangi Webinars

28 October
77th Annual Thomas Cawthron Memorial Lecture
Expert speakers Dr Siouxsie Wiles and Dr Serean Adams will offer their perspectives on the theme ‘Science Matters’, which will explore the value of scientific research and development to New Zealand’s society, now and in the future.
1 - 10 November
The Science Breakthroughs of the Year
Falling Walls and Berlin Science Week acknowledge the combined effort of scientists worldwide to overcome the effects of the pandemic. The free programme brings together some of the most recent breakthroughs and outstanding projects in science and society.

Ngā hui Conferences

11 - 12 November, Dunedin
Otago Global Health Institute 13th Annual Conference – Shared humanity and global health
The annual Otago Global Health Institute conference brings together the latest research on a diverse range of topics relevant to global health in under-resourced countries.

Mō Te Apārangi | About Us

Royal Society Te Apārangi supports New Zealanders to explore, discover and share knowledge. Our varied programmes provide support and opportunities for researchers, teachers and school students, together with those who are simply curious about the world. To learn more visit
Royal Society Te Apārangi
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Wellington 6011
Aotearoa New Zealand.

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