About the Rutherford Foundation Trust

The Royal Society of New Zealand-Rutherford Foundation Trust (the Trust) aims to build human capability in science and technology by providing early career support for New Zealand’s brightest and most promising researchers.

Established in 2008, the Trust provides support to those demonstrating a passion for science and technology and the potential to excel in a research environment.  The Trust offers scholarships and fellowships which carry the hallmark of excellence and enable strong connections to New Zealand to be maintained increasing the benefits to New Zealand that accrue from the investment in these recipients. Recipients of the Rutherford Foundation scholarships and fellowships are New Zealand’s top-academically-achieving graduates who also have a strong sense of the purpose and benefits of scientific research to New Zealand.

The Trust was established by the Royal Society of New Zealand with $1m p.a. of Government funding to support the education and development of a small number of truly outstanding young scientists each year. In addition, funds are raised from private individuals, companies, other trusts and foundations.  Co-sponsors are required to enable expansion of the scholarships and fellowships available.

Supporting the Rutherford Foundation

Sponsors, donors and philanthropic organisations who wish to have a relationship with the Rutherford Foundation are encouraged to contact the Rutherford Foundation Coordinator by e-mail rutherford.foundation@royalsociety.org.nz.

Trustees of the Rutherford Foundation

Currently the Trustees of the Rutherford Foundation are:

  • Professor Richard Bedford (Chair), President of the Royal Society of New Zealand
  • Dr Dianne McCarthy, Independent Director
  • Dr Brent Clothier, Science Group Leader, Systems Modelling, Plant & Food Research
  • Mr Mark Winger, Deputy Chairman of the Freemasons Roskill Foundation
  • Professor Rob Ballagh, University of Otago

See Biographies of the Rutherford Foundation Trustees for more information.


The Rutherford Foundation currently offers several streams of funding, and will develop more as the strategies for early career support are developed. For more information see Funding Opportunities.

More information

More information about the Rutherford Foundation Trust is available in the Rutherford Foundation Trust Annual Report 2012 (PDF, 669 kB)