Te Puiaki Kaipūtaiao Maea MacDiarmid Emerging Scientist Prize 

The Prime Minister’s Science Prizes Secretariat welcomes applications from Emerging Scientists who meet the eligibility criteria.


  • The Prize will be awarded to an outstanding emerging scientist1 (individual) who has had their PhD conferred within the past eight (8) years. (i.e. from 1 January 2013 onwards). Please note that if an applicant has had career interruptions including being a primary caregiver of dependent children since their PhD was conferred please email to outline what these are to pmscienceprizes@royalsociety.org.nz
  • The applicant must be either a New Zealand citizen or a New Zealand permanent resident, currently domiciled in New Zealand
  • The recipient of the Prize is expected to remain active in research in New Zealand for at least the year following the presentation of the Prize

1Taken to include natural, physical, mathematical and information sciences, applied science, technology, engineering, social science and multi-disciplinary science


  • $200,000; comprising of $50,000 for the recipient with no conditions and $150,000 that will be used for ongoing research.


The Prize will be judged on the following three selection criteria.

  • The research carried out by the applicant is leading edge in its field;
  • The research has already, or is likely to result in the generation of valuable new knowledge in the field, or have wider impact;
  • The applicant is able to effectively communicate their research.

Each applicant should address these criteria in their application and cross-reference that statement with an Evidence Portfolio.


The Secretariat gives no undertaking to keep confidential any information that is provided in this application unless this is identified as information that should be treated as such. It may, for example, be used to prepare promotional material for the prize in future years.

Please note that information submitted on the entry form may be subject to the Official Information Act.

Entry Process

  • The applicant will apply through the Prime Minister’s Science Prize Portal and also complete the Application Template and budget spreadsheet (this is not judged).
  • The applicant will need to nominate two referees who will in turn complete a Referee Template.

Selection panel

Panellists are appointed by the Pou Whakahaere Chief Executive of Royal Society Te Apārangi based on the recommendation of the panel Chairs and secretariat. Appointments are made on a year-by-year basis for each calendar year. Panellists can be appointed for more than one year.  Panellists must be experienced in an appropriate field or community and may be drawn from outside New Zealand if necessary.

Panels will consist of established leaders and researchers in their field, their research and in their communities.  We will also aim to bring emerging people to panels to ensure diverse views and allow for the development of people and new talent.

In considering the suitability of potential panellists, the following requirements for panel composition is considered as appropriate:

  • Mix of discipline/expertise
  • Sector and institutional balance
  • Geographic representation
  • Ethnicity
  • Gender balance.

Royal Society Te Apārangi is committed to following best practice in being inclusive of diversity within our activities.

It is recognised that occasionally members of the selection panel will know applicants or have other conflicts of interest. They will be expected to declare all such knowledge and conflicts of interest. In cases where an applicant is the colleague of a panelist, the Chair of the selection panel will rule if this conflict is significant enough for the panelist to be stood down from the panel for that entry. (In the case of the Chair having a conflict of interest the decision will be made by another member of the panel who has been identified in this role at the beginning of the process).

The selection panel will not enter into any correspondence concerning its deliberations. All inquiries should be directed to the secretariat. Note that information on matters such as ranking, or names of unsuccessful entrants, will not be disclosed.

Panel Members 2021

Professor Rawinia Higgins  (Chair)

Professor Michael Baker

Dr Tahu Kukutai

Dr Nancy Bertler

Professor Brendon Bradley

Dr Tom Baker


Ko te Kaiwhakahaere the Secretariat for The Prime Minister’s Science Prizes is Royal Society Te Apārangi.  Contact details are:

Te Kaiwhakahaere the Secretariat
The Prime Minister’s Science Prizes
Royal Society Te Apārangi
PO Box 598

Waea Tel: (04) 470 5762

Īmēra Email: pmscienceprizes@royalsociety.org.nz.


  • Two referees will be required to support the Applicant’s application.
  • The Selection Panel at its sole discretion, may request further referees or make contact with outside parties.  The panel  also reserves the right to hold interviews to help inform their decision.


  • $150,000 of the Prize is to be used to support the recipient’s on-going work.
  • The recipient of the Prize may be expected to be involved in promotional opportunities appropriate to receiving The Prime Minister’s MacDiarmid Emerging Scientist Prize.


  • The winner or team is expected to make themselves available for half a day in January/February to meet with the Prime Minister’s Science Prize media liaison personnel in preparation of media material and photos.
  • The winner will be announced in February/March/April.  (date to be confirmed)
  • The winner or team will be expected to make themselves available for that announcement in Wellington.

Closing date

  • Complete applications must be submitted by 12:01am on 27th October 2021 since the original closing date of the 25th October is a public holiday.

Need help?  Have other pātai questions?

Ngā Kaiwhakahaere the Secretariat for The Prime Minister’s Science Prizes is Royal Society Te Apārangi.  Contact details are:

Ngā Kaiwhakahaere the Secretariat
The Prime Minister’s Science Prizes
Royal Society Te Apārangi
PO Box 598

Waea Tel: (04) 470 5762

Īmēra Email: pmscienceprizes@royalsociety.org.nz.

How to apply

Once you have read all the information above and are ready to read about the Application Process please click  ‘APPLY NOW’


Supported by the New Zealand Government with funding from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.  Nā Te Hīkina Whakatutuki te mana hāpai.