The Otago Museum is establishing a series of research
fellowship and scholarship awards in a bid to learn more
about its internationally significant collection.
Felix Marx, who recently completed a University of Otago PhD
in geology, became the first person to receive one of these
research awards mid-last year, when he gained the Otago
Museum Linnaeus Taxonomy Fellowship.
This fellowship had been established through working with
Otago University and a committee chaired by Dr Ted Nye, but
was not restricted to Otago University students, officials
Last year the Otago Museum Trust Board also approved the
establishment of two scholarships for Otago University
postgraduate students - in zoological research and geology,
respectively. Both are major disciplines in the museum
University approval had since been gained, and the
scholarships would soon be advertised and awarded by mid this
year, museum officials said.
Each scholarship is for $5000 and runs for one year only for
each successful candidate.
The museum board last month also approved the creation of two
further $5000 scholarships for Otago postgraduate students.
These awards were devoted to, respectively, taoka Maori
(''Maori treasures'') and the humanities, and were still
subject to the university's approval process.
The first appointments were eventually likely to be made for
the 2014 academic year, museum officials said.
Museum collections, research and experience director Clare
Wilson said all scholarships were directly linked with the
museum's research strategy.
The museum was actively encouraging research on its
collection by others in a way that ''adds value'' to the
museum's knowledge of the collection.
The collection was ''very large and broad'' and the museum
would never be able to afford a large research staff.
Accordingly, the museum needed to ''work with experts
locally, nationally and internationally'' to increase its
knowledge - both for museum use and use by future
The scholarships also offered a ''clear bridge'' between the
museum and Otago University and highlighted the collection's
''importance and availability'' for research. The research
awards were being established initially for three years, so
the museum could assess whether they provided ''the best
investment for our limited resources'', she said.