We are researchers who would like to express concerns regarding the recently established Rutherford Discovery Fellowships and the current lack of postdoctoral opportunities available for early‐ to mid‐career researchers in New Zealand.
An open letter was sent today by Melanie Massaro to the Minister, the Royal Society, and others. The letter, signed by 560 scientists, highlights the lack of post-doctoral opportunities in New Zealand. Since the demise of the FRST postdoctoral fellowship scheme, there are very few avenues for funding post-doctoral research in New Zealand, beyond the Rutherford Foundation and the Marsden Fund. The New Zealand Association of Scientists supports this campaign to highlight the lack of opportunity for recent PhD graduates.
As outlined in the letter, the new Rutherford Discovery fellowship scheme favours mid-career scientists over those starting their research careers. Compared to many other countries, New Zealand not only under-invests in science generally, but strongly under-invests in post-doctoral positions. This is a major gap in the science funding landscape in New Zealand. We train many bright minds who then (by and large) head off overseas.
A PDF copy of the letter is available here.