The University of Otago is ''ecstatic'' after two of its
emerging researchers were awarded $800,000 Rutherford Discovery
Minister for Tertiary Education Steven Joyce yesterday
announced the 10 recipients of the fellowship, which rewards
top early to mid-career researchers. Each is given a funding
package of $800,000 over five years.
The two Otago University recipients are Dr Angela Wanhalla
for research entitled ''Marriage: The Politics of Private
Life in New Zealand'' and Dr Suetonia Palmer, from the
university's Christchurch campus, for research entitled
''Improving evidence for decision-makers in chronic kidney
Deputy vice-chancellor, research and enterprise, Prof Richard
Blaikie said he was ecstatic two Otago researchers had been
recognised, saying it ''just continues our excellent track
record in the Rutherford Fellowship''.
Gaining the fellowships was a good sign for the future
careers of the researchers and the university as a whole.
''Having the next generation of outstanding researchers
coming through the system [is] a healthy sign we have got the
best and the brightest coming through.''
Historian Dr Wanhalla said she was ''absolutely
''It's wonderful for me, but it's also fantastic for my
department and also the humanities division at the
university,'' she said.
Her work would build on her research into interracial
marriage in New Zealand, which she had been working on over
the past few years.
''Now, I can do a much bigger project ... that gives a sense
of the formation of modern New Zealand society through what
is the foundational social institution.''
It was an area which had not been researched much in the past
and a topic of particular interest given the recent passing
of legislation enabling same-sex marriage.
Mr Joyce said the fellowships fostered future leaders in the
science sector and allowed them to undertake important
research that will be valuable for New Zealand's future.
''The fellowships will help attract and retain our most
talented early-career researchers and encourage their career
development in this country,'' he said.