Kia ora


About the Prize

  • This Prize is for an outstanding emerging scientist1 who has had their PhD or equivalent qualification conferred within the past eight (8) years (i.e. from 1 January 2012 onwards).
  • The Prime Minister’s MacDiarmid Emerging Scientist Prize is worth 200,000. $50,000 will go directly to the recipient with no expectations and $150,000 will go to support their ongoing work.
  • Entries for this prize close at 5pm, (NZST) 9 October 2020.

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


You can either read the rest of the information on this page or print or download the Guidelines for the Prime Minister’s Emerging Scientitst Prize 2020



  • The Prize will be awarded to an outstanding emerging scientist1 who has had their PhD or equivalent qualification conferred within the past eight (8 ) years (from 1st January 2012, onwards).
  • The applicant must be either a New Zealand citizen or a New Zealand permanent resident, and 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.
  • The research can encompass the physical, chemical, biological, social and technological sciences, mathematics and engineering.
  • Re-application by candidates from previous years is encouraged, as long as the eligibility criteria continue to be met. Past winners of the Prize will not be eligible to enter a second time.

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


selection critera

The Prize will be adjudicated 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 the application statement and cross-reference that statement to an attached evidence portfolio (up to ten pages)



  • Applicants and supporters can download the forms.
  • Applicants will need to complete a summary of their research written for an academic audience, up to a maximum of 1000 words. This summary is used to assess the scientific merit of your research in terms of the three selection criteria.
  • Research activity undertaken prior to commencement of your PhD studies should be acknowledged but will not normally be taken into account. Rather judging will focus on how you have been able to harness opportunities to develop your research programme after completion of your PhD or equivalent qualification.
  • Provide details of your research question(s), methodology and conclusions. You must have some results, so if your research is at an early stage, please enter in a later year.
  • Ensure you specifically address all three judging criteria – separate sub-sections addressed to each criterion.
  • If you are working as part of a research team, you need to make it clear how your research contributes to the team’s objectives.
  • You may include diagrams or pictures to help explain your research. Please keep the number of these small as this is a summary – not a full dissertation.
  • Send your Curriculum Vitae in standard New Zealand format including information on published papers, patents or patents pending, and any other measures of professional achievement that you have gained. A two-page limit for C.V’s must be strictly adhered to.
  • The entry must be endorsed by two supporters: both of whom will be able to comment on your research and your ability to effectively communicate your research.These forms can be downloaded from above.
  • The supporters will be required to complete a confidential  form which addresses the criteria.
  • The supporters must submit all documents by 5pm (NZST), Friday 9 October 2020.
  • After the closing date, the selection panel may invite a nominee to an interview which would include a 10 minute presentation by the nominee to the panel about their research. This will take place in November.
  • Entrants will be asked to agree that any information on the entry form may be used in publicity for the Prizes (see Confidentiality).
  • Please note that information submitted on the entry form may be subject to the Official Information Act.
  • A condition of entry is that the selection panel may contact outside parties to verify information if needed.


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.

selection panel

An independent selection panel will be selected by the Secretariat and the Prime Minister’s decision to present the Prize will be based upon the selection panel’s advice.

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 conflicts of interest when these situations arise. In the case of knowing an applicant, the Chair of the selection panel will rule if this is significant enough for the judge to be stood down from the committee for that applicant. (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. The Secretariat will not disclose information on matters such as ranking, or names of nominees.

The Secretariat for the Prime Minister’s Science Prizes is the Royal Society Te Apārangi, If you have any questions then please make contact with

The Prime Minister’s Science Prizes
C/-Royal Society Te Aparangi
PO Box 598


  • $150,000 of the Prize is to be used to support the recipient’s on-going work. A plan for the use of this funding will be required from the prize recipient.
  • $50,000 of the Prize money is available to the recipient with no expectations on its use.
  • The recipient of the Prize would be expected to be involved in promotional opportunities appropriate to receiving The Prime Minister’s MacDiarmid Emerging Scientist Prize.



  • The winner is expected to make themselves available for half a day in December/ January 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   (date to be confirmed)
  • The winner will be expected to make themselves available for that announcement in February/March in Wellington.


  • Entry Form
  • Summary of Research Form
  • Declaration of Assurance Form (please sign)
  • Curriculum Vitae in standard NZ format (2 pages maximum)
  • Evidence Portfolio (up to 10 pages)
  • Supporter 1 and 2 Forms
  • Terms & Condition Form
  • Copy of passport
  • All entries must be received (fully complete) by 5pm (NZST), Friday 9 October 2020 and sent to

Click on this ‘apply’ link  if you wish to apply or go to the home page and click on the ‘Apply now’ button.