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Prestigious research fellowships for top scientists

James Cook Fellowship recipient Professor Marti Anderson

Professor Marti Anderson

Dr Jane Allison

Two top researchers from the Institute of Natural and Mathematical Sciences – Professor Marti Anderson and Dr Jane Allison – have been awarded prestigious scholarships from The Royal Society worth a combined $980,000.

Dr Allison, a senior lecturer at the institute, has been awarded one of 12 annual Rutherford Discovery Fellowships to research how the structure and motion of biomolecules relate to their functional and evolutionary roles in biology.

The fellowships, worth up to $160,000 each a year for five years, are to develop and foster New Zealand's future science and innovation leaders.

Dr Allison's research encompasses the development of computational techniques to investigate biomolecular structure and interactions and their application in diverse areas ranging from drug development to fathoming the earliest stages of protein evolution.

Professor Anderson, an ecological statistician, was awarded a James Cook Research Fellowship to develop her work addressing issues around the modelling of ecological communities.

The fellowship, worth $110,000 annually for two years, is awarded to experienced researchers who have demonstrated that they have achieved national and international recognition in their area of scientific specialty.

Professor Anderson’s ultimate goal is to develop new rigorous models and associated new user-friendly software that will be straightforward for ecologists to allow estimation, simulation and prediction of real data.

She hopes her research will significantly advance the field of quantitative ecology, allowing scientists to develop new insights into the biodiversity of any ecological system at any scale.

Dr Allison and Professor Anderson are also a members of the University's New Zealand Institute of Advanced Study.

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce announced the fellowships, administered by The Royal Society on behalf of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

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