The Otago Institute Postgraduate Student Travel Award

2017 second round -- now open

Application Guidelines

The Otago Institute for the Arts and Sciences is pleased to offer a second round of travel scholarships to assist young Otago/Southland-based researchers to travel as part of their postgraduate study. Two grants worth $500 will be awarded; both are for the purpose of conference and/or other research-related travel.

We received many strong applications for the first round of awards in 2017, and applicants who were unsuccessful in the first round are encouraged to apply to this round.

An applicant must:

  • be a member of the Otago Institute for the Arts and Sciences. (Alternatively, a supervisor can sponsor a student for $50, which makes both supervisor and student full members.)
  • be a postgraduate student and be based in Otago or Southland.
  • be travelling to a conference or visiting a collaborating researcher.
  • be presenting original research in oral or poster format if travelling to a conference.

Documentation required

There is no application form for the award. To apply, send the following items, combined into a single pdf in the specified order, to the address below.

  1.  A curriculum vitae (at most two pages in length), including a brief statement (one or two sentences) of your area of research.
  2.  A description (at most two hundred words in length) of the nature and significance your research.
  3.  An explanation (at most two hundred words in length) of how and why the proposed travel would be of value to you. Please include the conference you will attend or the research group you will visit, along with location and dates of travel.
  4.  If attending a conference, the title and abstract of the research you will present, an indication of whether it will be an oral or a poster presentation, and an indication of whether it has been accepted. If visiting a collaborator's research group, evidence of invitation or other communication demonstrating the planning of the visit.

Nature of assessment

Assessment proceeds in two rounds:

  • First, applications will be judged by three academic members of the Otago Institute for the Arts and Sciences. Applicants will be assessed for their ability to clearly communicate: (1) the nature and significance of their research; (2) the value of the proposed travel. Applicants will be notified of the outcome of this round on or before 13 October 2017.
  • Second, the four top-ranking applicants will give oral presentations at 12:00 on 27 October 2017 in the Barclay Lecture Theatre at the Otago Museum. Oral presentations will be ten minutes each, followed by a three-minute question period. Presenters will be judged for enthusiasm and the ability to communicate their research clearly. The first- and second-place winners will be announced immediately after the presentations.

Further commitments

Upon completion of travel the successful applicants will be required to provide a short report on the meeting for publication on the Otago Institute's website (


The application deadline is 29 September 2017. Applications should be emailed with the subject line "submission: Otago Institute 2017 round 2 postgraduate student travel award" to:

Dr. Kourken Michaelian
Otago Institute Council
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Key dates

  • application deadline: 29 September 2017
  • notification of results of first round: 13 October 2017
  • oral presentations: 27 October 2017

Further information:

Congratulations to our 2017 winners!

 1st Prize: Nick Shields (Pathology): Living drugs: Harnessing the power of T-cells to combat cancer

    $1000 towards conference travel

2nd Prize: Chloe Wall (Philosophy): Knowing (From) Me, Knowing (From) You: Are Memory and Testimony Analogous?

     $500 towards conference travel



Honourable mention: 
Stephanie Junior (Geology): Analysing Gold in Earth's Mantle: a Petrological and Geochemical Study of Au in New Zealand Peridotites
Sophie Gangl (Chemistry): Global ocean anoxia during ancient 'greenhouse' climates: Prospects for a warming world


Congratulations to our 2016 winners!

Winner (Otago Institute General Postgraduate Award): Kate Brookie (Psychology), "Does an Apple a Day Keep the Psychologist Away?"

     $1000 towards conference travel

Winner (Otago Institute Applied Research Award): Prashanth Thevkar (Microbiology and Immunology), "Identification of a Novel Antiviral Host Factor of Influenza Virus"

     $1000 towards conference travel


Congratulations to our 2015 Winners!

Winner: Imogen Roth (Pathology), “Tumour suppressor gene or wolf in sheep’s clothing?  A p53 isoform story”

$1500 towards conference travel and multiple collaborator visits

Runner-up: Jaz Morris (Botany), “The acid test: genome mutation confers pH-stress tolerance in a cyanobacterium deficient Photosystem II”

$500 towards conference travel and collaborator visit


Congratulations to our 2014 Winners!

 Winner: Jill Assawasuwannakit (Pharmacy)

     $1500 towards conference travel.

Runner-up: Chris Niebuhr (Zoology)

    $500 towards travel for field research.


Congratulations to our 2013 Winners!

 Winner: Abhishek Gulati (Pharmacy)

     $1500 towards travel to Scotland and Greece for conferences and collaborator visit.

Runner-up: Maria Pozza (Law)

    $500 towards travel to Cambridge, UK to undertake a prestigious fellowship.


Congratulations to our 2012 WINNERS!

Winner: Cleo Davie-Martin, Chemistry Department, "Modelling the vapour drift potential of current use pesticides"

Runner-up: Owen Jones, Psychology Department, "Long range communication between synapses- a role for astrocytes"