Rutherford Discovery Fellowships for 2017

Two researchers have won coveted Rutherford Discovery Fellowships worth $800,000 each to carry out their research at Victoria University of Wellington.

Royal Society Te Apārangi awards up to ten Fellowships each year. They are designed to support and foster the development of early- to mid-career researchers and future leaders in the New Zealand science and innovation system.

Two of this year’s successful recipients, Dr Christopher Cornwall, a research fellow at the University of Western Australia, and Dr Yvette Perrott, a junior research fellow from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, will travel to Wellington to further their research.

Marine botanist Dr Cornwall is a Victoria alumnus, completing a Master’s and Bachelor’s degree in Wellington ten years ago. He then went on to graduate with a PhD from the University of Otago in 2013.

During his time at Victoria University’s Coastal Ecology Lab (VUCEL), Dr Cornwall will investigate the impact of climate change and ocean acidification on coralline algae and temperate rocky reefs. This work will aid in planning for shallow reef systems in the years to come.

Astrophysicist Dr Perrott completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Auckland, before studying for her PhD at Cambridge University. She currently works in the prestigious Cavendish Laboratory, which was once led by Lord Ernest Rutherford.

Her research programme at Victoria will focus on furthering our understanding of galaxy clusters—the largest gravitationally bound structures in the Universe. She will explore their potential as cosmological probes to determine the structure of the Universe.

Victoria University has been awarded 17 Rutherford Discovery Fellowships over the past eight years.

Last year, four Victoria scientists won Fellowships—Drs Huw Horgan, Baptiste Auguié, Jeremy Owen and Rachael Shaw.

The Fellowships have also been awarded to Victoria’s Associate Professor Nick Golledge and Dr Kevin Norton (2015), Dr Jonathan Halpert (2014), Drs Dillon Mayhew, Rob McKay and Elizabeth Stanley(2013), Associate Professors Justin Hodgkiss, Nancy Bertler and Dr Nicole Moreham (2011), and Professors Noam Greenberg and Eric Le Ru (2010).

Vice-Provost (Research) Professor Kate McGrath says the Fellowships recognise the calibre of research taking place at Victoria

“The University’s strong track record with the prestigious Fellowships is hugely rewarding. We are committed to producing and disseminating high-quality research.

“It’s also satisfying to see these individuals being supported in their research, which will contribute to New Zealand. We warmly welcome Drs Cornwall and Perrott to Victoria.”