Postgraduate Science Scholarships

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) awards scholarships for master’s and PhD candidates. The scholarships promote research that will advance the primary industries and highlight the diverse range of science-based career opportunities across the sector. The winners of the 2020 scholarships were announced in March 2020.


About the science scholarships

MPI’s Postgraduate Science Scholarships provide financial support for PhD and master’s candidates doing primary industry research.

Each scholarship is worth up to:

  • $50,000 for PhD students
  • $12,000 for master’s students.

Along with the funding to help them complete their research, each scholarship winner will also benefit from mentoring from MPI scientists, and professional development to help them fast-track their career in the primary industries.

These scholarships help MPI build capability for the primary industries, particularly where there are skills and science gaps.

New Zealand’s primary industries offer diverse and exciting career opportunities. You can help:

  • feed the world
  • build a sustainable future
  • find solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems like biosecurity risks, animal welfare, and climate change.

Who is eligible?

Applicants must:

  • propose research that is relevant and meets a priority need for MPI or the primary industries. The application form shows specific areas
  • be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident
  • be enrolled or intending to enrol for a master’s or PhD at a New Zealand tertiary education institution
  • have a supervisor who holds a position at a New Zealand tertiary education institution.

Find out more

Primary sector science roadmap – Te ao tūroa

Growing primary industry careers

2020 science scholarship winners

Congratulations to our 2020 winners:

  • Alex Burton, Massey University (Masters)
    Assessing the population ecology of school sharks in the southern Kaipara Harbour.
  • Katharina Doehring, University of Otago (PhD)
    Looking at how to most effectively set up a national register of on-land mitigation actions that improve water quality for all primary industries.
  • Shawn Gerrity, University of Canterbury (PhD)
    Focusing on the recovery, restoration, enhancement, and population dynamics of New Zealand abalone (pāua)
  • Josie Mainwaring, Victoria University of Wellington (Masters)
    Better understanding the characterisation and inhibition of oospores of Phytophthora agathidicida – the causal agent of kauri dieback disease.
  • Izabella Norris, Massey University (Masters)
    Investigation of fish welfare issues in New Zealand, and analysis of current fish welfare documents, regulations and policies for the generation of welfare indices.
  • Clarissa Ross, University of Otago (Masters)
    Understanding the influence of clay mineral properties on expansion in Southland soils.

2022 scholarship applications

Key timeframes for the 2022 MPI Postgraduate Science Scholarships: 

  • October 2021 – applications open
  • December 2021 – applications close
  • Early February 2022 – interviews with shortlisted candidates
  • Late February 2022 - announcement of successful candidates.

Past winners of science scholarships

Find out who were the 2018 scholarship winners

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