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The Cambridge-Rutherford Memorial PhD Scholarships are jointly funded by the Rutherford Foundation Trust and the Cambridge Commonwealth, European and International Trust (CCEIT). The Scholarships are administered by the Royal Society Te Apārangi (The Society) on behalf of the Rutherford Foundation Trust.

These Scholarships are intended to provide full support for three years to enable completion of a PhD at the University of Cambridge in pure or applied science and the social sciences. This award is expected to play a strong part in the Scholar’s professional development.

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The Cambridge-Rutherford Memorial PhD Scholarships aim to build human capability in Science and Technology by providing early career support for New Zealand’s brightest and most promising researchers. Successful applicants will be expected to have an excellent undergraduate academic record and the potential to excel in a research environment in order to undertake the PhD course at the University of Cambridge. It is expected that recipients will complete their PhD at the University of Cambridge and contribute to positive outcomes for New Zealand.

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The Rutherford Foundation and CCEIT are jointly funding up to 3 Cambridge-Rutherford Memorial PhD Scholarships in the 2018 funding round.

The Scholarships will provide a maximum of three years’ support for applicants demonstrating a passion for science and technology.  The Scholarships are offered annually, with the expectation that applicants will begin their course of study in the following year (usually September or October).

Successful applicants will receive a living allowance (maintenance) of approximately £13,900* per annum, and their course and college fees for up to a maximum of three years while enrolled for study towards their PhD at the University of Cambridge.  In addition, they will be eligible for one, non-transferable, return airfare between the United Kingdom and New Zealand per annum.

Please note that applicants will be responsible for all other costs including, but not limited to: costs of travel to interview or videoconference for short-listed applicants; visa and entry requirement costs to the United Kingdom; any travel other than the agreed New Zealand to United Kingdom air fares; and, any additional fees other than course fees incurred from applying to the University of Cambridge.  Funding extensions cannot be applied for under the terms of the Scholarship.

*[This is an indicative amount, as the allowance is set annually by the CCEIT to cover annual living expenses while studying at the University of Cambridge]

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Eligibility Criteria

  • Applicants from the disciplines of science and technology (which includes pure or applied science and the social sciences) are eligible to apply.
  • Applicants must be either New Zealand citizens or have continuously resided in New Zealand for at least two years immediately prior to their application and hold, or are deemed to hold, a New Zealand resident visa.
  • Applicants who hold, or are deemed to hold, a New Zealand resident visa are also required to have completed their undergraduate study in New Zealand to be considered eligible to apply.
  • The application must represent the applicant’s first attempt at study towards a PhD.
  • Applicants must be in a position that, if successful, they would be able to enter the United Kingdom and comply with the regulations for matriculation at the University of Cambridge.
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Selection Criteria

The selection is based on an applicant’s demonstration of academic excellence, evidence of engagement with science and technology and a commitment to New Zealand.

Proposals are assessed on the information provided in the application, the accompanying forms and referee reports.

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  • Applicants must be prepared to take part in promoting the Rutherford Foundation and to support other Rutherford Foundation Scholars.
  • The Scholarship must be taken up within a reasonable time frame of being offered (Usually September or October of the following year).

Rules applicable to the University of Cambridge:

  • To take up the award the applicant must fulfill any academic conditions, including being accepted for admission to a University of Cambridge college.
  • Applicants are encouraged to look into the process of applying for admission to a college at the University of Cambridge.  Although it is unlikely a Rutherford Foundation Scholar would be denied admission, the process is not automatic, and so successful applicants will be required to complete such admission applications by the due date in December of the year before study.
  • Awardees may also be required to apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme certificate depending on the proposed area of study.
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Closing date

Applications and supporting information must be submitted to the Royal Society Te Apārangi via the Proposal on-line portal by the closing date of 02 August 2018 at 5 pm (NZST).

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Application Process

Instructions for applying using the Rutherford Foundation Proposals on-line portal

  • Proposals must be submitted on the web-based system, Proposals On-Line.
  • Applicants must contact their University’s research office coordinator to obtain their login details for the Proposals On-Line system. If you are currently not associated with a University, you may request your login details from the Rutherford Foundation.
  • Researchers should write their proposals directly into Proposals On-Line using the templates provided with the original formatting retained. The templates can be downloaded directly from the Proposals on-line portal or from the Rutherford Foundation website.
  • Separate instructions on using Proposals On-Line are available from the portal.
  • Please note that paper copies (including declarations) are not required when submitting a proposal through the Proposals On-Line portal. Proposals On-Line has a document printing facility which can be used to view and print the application for checking and for your own records.
  • The layout of the entire application on Proposals On-Line is automatic.  The limit on space in all sections of the templates should be adhered to and the typeface should be 11 point, Times or of similar type font, single spacing, with margins of 2 cm on the left and 2 cm on the right sides of the page.  Instructions in italic may be removed, but not the margins.  No additional pages or attachments will be accepted other than where requested or required.
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Assistance with filling out the on-line application form

The on-line application consists of information entered directly into the portal in combination with the upload of specific templates and documents. The following is an overview of all the sections of the application, a short explanation for each section, and information on how to enter the information on the on-line application portal.


Table 1: Application contents



Type of entry

Section 1-2

Applicant details and eligibility


Section 3-6

Qualification, previous employment history, awards, and other notable contributions

Download the “Qualifications and career history” template. Upload completed form when finished.

Section 7-8

Research title and summary


Section 9-12

  1. New knowledge/skills gained through the Scholarship
  2. Why do you want to do the project
  3. Previous research experience in suggested area
  4. Examples demonstrating your capability to complete a PhD

Download the “Research & Motivation” template. Upload completed form when finished.

Section 13



Supporting information

-          Proof of New Zealand citizenship or residency

-          Academic transcript(s) of undergraduate studies undertaken.

-          A declaration form signed by you

Upload copy

Upload copy (1 file for all transcripts)


Download the declaration template and upload when signed

1.     Applicant’s details

This section is for personal details.  It identifies who you are and where you can be contacted most readily.  Complete this section, providing all details.  If any of your contact details should change at any stage after the application is submitted, please inform the Rutherford Foundation as soon as possible.

The webpage additionally contains a box termed “Statistical information”. The Society encourages applications from all eligible members of the New Zealand research community.  To monitor the profile of different groups of applicants and identify funding trends and gaps, the Society would appreciate applicants providing the information requested in this section of Proposals On-Line.  The statistical data will be used by the Rutherford Foundation secretariat for statistical purposes only. Note that this information will not form part of your application.

2.     Research codes, eligibility, and host information

Fields of Research codes

The Fields of Research (FOR) classification allows research and development (R&D) activity to be categorised according to the field of research.  In this respect, it is the methodology used in the R&D that is being considered.  Please enter up to three codes from the list of research codes supplied in “Fields of Research Classification Codes” here. Please use codes that are as specific as possible, i.e. 6 digits.

Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) classification:

The Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC) SEO classification allows R&D activity in Australia and New Zealand to be categorised according to the intended purpose or outcome of the research, rather than the processes or techniques used in order to achieve this objective.  The purpose categories include processes, products, health, education and other social and environmental aspects in Australia and New Zealand that R&D activity aims to improve.  Please enter up to three codes from the list of “socio-economic objectives codes” here.   


Please select from the drop down menu whether you are a New Zealand Citizen or hold/are deemed to hold a New Zealand resident visa. If you hold, or are deemed to hold, a New Zealand resident visa, you need to indicate how long you have resided in New Zealand immediately prior to this application. Proof of citizenship or residency must be scanned and uploaded to Proposal On-line (see supporting information). Original or certified copies of the documents may be requested by the Rutherford Foundation Secretariat.

Proposed host institution

This field has been set to the University of Cambridge and can’t be changed.

Proposed supervisor

Please enter the name, department, and email address of your proposed supervisor. It is not necessary to have a fully-defined project and supervisor at the University of Cambridge – only an indication of the applicant’s research interests and proposed supervisors are required at the time of application.  Nonetheless, it is advisable to contact any potential supervisor(s) at the earliest opportunity as this enables applicants to achieve a clearer understanding of their proposed PhD topic.  As such, applicants are encouraged to contact potential supervisors and tap into any existing networks they or their academic colleagues may have to accomplish this.  However, applicants should be aware that it is often the case that staff at the University of Cambridge cannot confirm they will host a particular project until applicants have secured funding.

Preferred College at the University of Cambridge

An indication of an applicant’s preferred College is requested as part of the application, but confirmation will depend on availability of space at that College.  Places are confirmed after funding, entry and allocations are made, usually around March-April.

Eligibility exemption (if applicable)

If you hold, or are deemed to hold, a New Zealand resident visa, please indicate where in New Zealand you completed your undergraduate studies.

3.     Qualifications (Degrees/Diplomas completed)

Please enter the date the qualification was granted, the type of qualification, and the institution from which it was granted. You can add additional rows if needed.

4.     Previous employment history (if applicable)

Please include up to three of the positions you’ve held immediately prior to your current role.

5.     Awards

Please enter type of award and the year you received the award.

6.     Other notable contributions

Please enter other notable contributions that demonstrate your capabilities as a researcher (e.g. awarded research or travel grants, conference presentations, conference committees, science outreach activities, or other activities you think are relevant for your application).

7.     Title of proposed research

Please provide a title that describes the nature of your proposed programme of research.  Keep the title brief and to the point.

8.     Project Summary

Please provide a summary of the planned project suitable for a lay audience with some limited science knowledge, and using a maximum of 500 words. The summary may describe an area of research that interest you or a project you have agreed with a potential supervisor.

9.     What new knowledge and skills do you anticipate gaining through the Scholarship?

 Please describe what new knowledge and skills you expect to gain through the Scholarship.

10.  Why do you want to do this project?

Please describe why you want to do this project (in the context of how you intend to develop your future research career).

11.  Describe any research you have already undertaken in this area:

Please describe any research you have already undertaken in this area, including any publications and any contact with your potential supervisor.

12.  Examples demonstrating your capability to complete a PhD:

Please provide examples from your studies or extra-curricular activities that demonstrate your particular capability to complete a PhD.

13.  Referees

References are required from two academic and one personal referee.  Academic referees should fill out the referee report template available from the Rutherford Foundation website and the referee web portal, while the personal referee should respond in the form of a reference letter. Referee reports should be uploaded directly to the on-line referee web portal.

Please enter the names and contact details of three referees who have agreed to provide a reference for you.  When you have entered the referee names, and ensured that they are willing to provide the Rutherford Foundation with a reference for you before the application closing date of 03 August 2017, you need to select “SEND EMAIL”. Upon selecting “SEND EMAIL”, an automatic email will be sent to your referee with a URL access link to a web portal where the referee can upload the reference. It is prudent for you to check that the referees have received the invitation to review your application and the URL link.  Occasionally, the email that is automatically generated when selecting “send email” is inadvertently identified as spam and in a referees ‘junk’ folder in their email client. If this happens, please ask your referee to contact the Rutherford Foundation.

If a referee informs you that he or she for some reason can’t upload a referee report before the deadline, you can enter an additional referee on the On-line Proposals web portal. In the instance where the Rutherford Foundation receives more than three referee reports, we will use the first three reports received.

You can check if the Society has received each of the applicant-solicited referee reports by logging in to the proposals on-line system and go to the Referees section.

Please remember that it is your responsibility to ensure that your referees upload their report to the portal no later than the closing date for applications, i.e. 03 August 2017 at 5pm (New Zealand Standard Time).

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Supporting information

In addition to the completed electronic application, applicants must upload electronic copies of the following documents (scanned jpeg or PDF preferred):

  • Proof of New Zealand citizenship or residency
  • Academic transcript(s) of undergraduate studies undertaken.
  • A declaration form signed by you

Note that the Rutherford Foundation may request to see original or certified copies of the above documents.

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Submitting your application

Once you are happy with your application, you must mark it as COMPLETED. To do this, select Preview/Print from the left hand menu, followed by “Mark as Completed”. This flags to your institution coordinator that the proposal has been completed and can be released to the Rutherford Foundation. If you need to make changes to your application after you have marked it as completed, you must confer with your research office first.

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Selection Process

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to interview (at their own expense).  If this should prove a hardship, then applicants may request to have the interview conducted by teleconference or videoconference.

All applicants will be notified in late September as to whether they have been invited to interview. Successful applicants will be notified in November or December (TBC).

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Further enquiries should be made by contacting the Rutherford Foundation by email:


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Printable guidelines and application templates





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