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James Cook Fellowships For Top Researchers

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Four of the country's top academics have received Government support for their work through the prestigious James Cook Research Fellowships, Minister of Research, Science and Technology Wayne Mapp announced today.

"Innovative research in any discipline ultimately adds value for everyone. It improves productivity by creating better technologies and new ways of doing things. The power of a good new idea or insight can be immense. These awards recognise the potential shown so far," the Minister said.

The four professors have been awarded the Fellowships, worth $126,500 a year, for two years.

"These people are all making vital contributions in their fields. Fundamental research is the foundation of modern society. Discoveries made in the fields of the four awardees will improve our health, in particular, and contribute to lifting the economy," Dr Mapp said.

Professor Paul Rainey (Massey University) will look into the detailed workings of genetic evolution, contributing to a better, more predictive theory of evolution. Associate Professor Poul Nielsen (University of Auckland) will deepen medical knowledge by developing new tools for use in biological modelling.

Professor Susan Schenk (Victoria University of Wellington) will work on understanding drug addiction by using new techniques to identify what causes long-term changes in brain structure and function that create a craving for drugs.

Associate Professor Tony Poole (University of Otago) will study a flock of sheep with mutated primary cilia (a hair-like structure that acts like a probe for cells) in an effort to better understand how primary cilia work and how they are important to diseases.

The Government invests $720,000 in the James Cook Research Fellowships every year. They are administered on behalf of the Government by the Royal Society of New Zealand. Previous Fellows include such eminent scientists as Professors Sir Paul Callaghan, Dame Judith Binney and Peter Hunter.

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