Fellowships and Awards

Fellowships and Awards

The Trust welcomes applications for Fellowships for post-graduate research, particularly PhD, into the ecology and management of New Zealand’s indigenous grasslands but especially investigations into aspects of the sustainable management, uses, and conservation of these grassland ecosystems (eg. plant biology, sustainable production systems, plant-animal interactions, pedology, hydrology, climatology).

Fully supported Fellowships incorporate a stipend payable at rates consistent with those offered by the particular university, plus research expenses. If that rate changes during the tenure of the Fellowship the Trust will re-adjust the rate accordingly, following a request from the supervisor. Other Fellowships may be awarded to provide financial support for other components of the research, for example for operating expenses only.

All Fellows are required to provide an annual report when requested by the Governors. Fully supported Hellaby IGR Fellows usually have their academic fees paid and receive a contribution of $500 towards the cost of producing their thesis. In these cases a copy of the approved thesis (preferably as a pdf file) is expected.

The decision to award Fellowships is generally based on the following three criteria:

  1. Whether the research topic meets the Trust’s criteria;
  2. The academic record of the applicant, and;
  3. The supporting statement of the intending supervisor(s).

Awards of other types to Fellows will also be considered on their merits.

Academic record requirements

Applications will be assessed on merit and normally based on the following guidelines unless other circumstances and considerations are relevant. Applications for student support other than for PhD or MSc will normally have an equivalent merit standard applied.

For PhD applicants:

  1. a student should be expected to have a minimum of a Second Class First Division Honours degree or equivalent
  2. the research dissertation component of (i) should be graded a minimum of B+ and have contributed a minimum of one quarter of the degree;
  3. for 2-yr MSc students applying for entry to PhD, the research thesis component should be graded a minimum of B+;
  4. for 1-yr MSc by thesis only, students should have an MSc with Credit or the equivalent, as a minimum (allowing for variation in terminology between universities).

For MSc thesis applicants:

  1. students normally should have completed a minimum of a B average across their year-1 MSc papers or achieved this standard in an equivalent qualification.

Research expenses

The Trust will normally cover reasonable research costs of Fellows. It may also consider applications from post-graduate students, otherwise funded, to cover or contribute to the cost of relevant field research projects where funds are not otherwise available. Also, recognising health and safety requirements, the Trust may also consider applications for qualified student field assistants, working under appropriate supervision, to assist a current Fellow. Summer Student Fellowships of up to 10 weeks duration, to assist university or CRI staff with relevant research, will also be considered for students likely to advance in a relevant field. In these circumstances, training of student assistants would be considered as fulfilling the Trust’s objectives.

Research equipment and consumables

The Trust will also consider contributing to the cost of purchasing equipment and/or consumables necessary for a Fellow’s research project where these are not already available within the university. Any equipment so purchased will normally become the property of the university department on completion of the project. However, this equipment must be recorded and catalogued within the department, so as to be preferentially available for any future Hellaby Fellow, if it is not already in use when so required. If in use, the Trust may consider contributing to the cost of the additional items.

Vehicle usage

The cost of vehicle usage for research work is allocated at normal university rates. The Trust has its own 4WD utility vehicle based at the Botany Department at Otago University. Hellaby-supported students have priority use of this vehicle. Students funded by the Trust may, if appropriately experienced, use this vehicle at a charge-out rate of $0.50 per km plus $10 per day. Usage of this vehicle would not normally exceed 1 week away from campus at any one time for any one user. Bookings by other than University of Otago Hellaby-supported Fellows should be arranged through the Research Adviser well in advance.

When not required for Hellaby IGR Trust usage, the vehicle may be made available for use by other appropriately experienced research students or staff at the normal university rate (currently $0.60 per km, plus $10 per day), at the discretion of the Research Adviser. Bookings by other than Hellaby-supported users can be made with the Botany Department technicians within one week of usage.

Field allowance

The Trust will pay a field allowance of $20 for each overnight stay or will otherwise reimburse for actual and reasonable field expenses, within budget, on the basis of receipts supplied. Expense claims for research students must be endorsed by the student’s supervisor prior to payment.

Meetings and seminars

The Trust normally convenes a seminar triennially, so as to involve all the researchers it funds in at least one such seminar. These are normally held in Dunedin, in early December and are open to other interested people. The Trust covers the cost of contributors to these seminars and will also consider covering or contributing to the costs of its Fellows attending at least one other relevant conference usually within New Zealand, to present aspects of their research towards the end of their tenure as a Fellow.


The Trust welcomes applications for support. These are currently considered annually, with the next closing date being August 12 2023. Applications should normally include proposals of no more than 3-4 pages in length written by the candidate, in consultation with their supervisor(s). A fully itemised budget should be included in the application, together with the candidate's CV and academic record. A supporting statement from the supervisor(s) is also required. Preliminary discussions may be held with one or other of the Trust's Research Advisers. Applications should be addressed either to the Chair of the Governors (Dave Kelly, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch 8140) or to the Trustee, Guardian Trust, PO Box 295, Dunedin on or before either closing date. In special cases, an application may be considered when received.