Supporting Future Leaders in Antarctic Research

Antarctica New Zealand works with a number of generous sponsors to award scholarships to postgraduate research students. These scholarships provide a means for new talent to enter New Zealand’s Antarctic research community. The scholarships are awarded annually, and include a stipend and logistics support to conduct or participate in research in Antarctica. The awards are competitive and attract students of a very high calibre.

Scholarships for the 2020/21 season are now closed

Applications are now open for the following 2020 scholarships:

Antarctica New Zealand Doctoral Scholarships

This year, there are two Antarctica New Zealand Doctoral scholarships offered. These scholarships recognise the importance of a talented, vibrant, and sustainable research community within New Zealand that is focused on the big questions facing Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, and the relevance of this region for the rest of the planet.

  • For doctoral research
  • Stipend of $20,000 per annum over two years (total of $40,000); and
  • Logistics support in Antarctica*

New Zealand Post Antarctic Scholarship

New Zealand's presence in Antarctica is important to our nation and New Zealand Post has a long association with the continent – ever since Sir Edmund Hillary was postmaster at Scott Base in 1957. Supporting up-and-coming New Zealand scientists through this scholarship is a key way that New Zealand Post continues its close association with the white continent.

  • For master’s or doctoral research
  • Stipend of $10,000 over one year; and
  • Logistics support for one season in Antarctica*

*Subject to programme availability

See the Call for Applications for more information. Expressions of interest must be submitted to Dr Esme Robinson by 28 February 2020.

Application forms for the 2020/21 season can be found here.

Applications close Sunday 15 March 2020.

2019 Scholars

Antarctica New Zealand Doctoral Scholarship

Maren in Greenland photo taken by Janin Schaffer

Maren Richter
University of Otago-The variability in sea ice growth rate under the influence of platelet ice in McMurdo Sound s

Maren, an oceanographer, became interested in sea ice when she studied glaciology. Studying sea ice in McMurdo Sound is the perfect mix of both because sea ice in McMurdo Sounds can be affected by water properties in the Ross Sea. Her research looks at sea ice and ocean temperatures from the Sound, going back more than 20 years.

New Zealand Post Antarctic Scholarship


Shanelle Dyer
University of Canterbury- Validation of a remote sensing methodology for a focal top predator in the Ross Sea, Antarctica.

Antarctica’s animals have fascinated Shanelle Dyer since she was nine, and thanks to a New Zealand Post Antarctic Scholarship, she is translating that fascination into a Weddell Seal research project. Her research will help streamline the way Weddell Seal numbers are counted in the Ross Sea region Marine Protected Area. It involves GIS technology, remote sensing, and artificial intelligence, allowing her to count the seals from afar and better analyse their haul out patterns. A haul out is when the seal hauls itself back onto land or sea ice to rest and reproduce between hunting for food.

New Zealand Post Antarctic Scholarship

Rilee Thomas 1

Rilee Thomas
University of Otago- Water chemistry and ice mechanics

Antarctic researcher Rilee Thomas was originally studying magma unmixing in the Southern Alps, but it was a rock deformation paper taught by Professor David Prior in 2017 that started her Antarctic journey. She is heading to the Priestley Glacier in Antarctica this season to study the mechanical behaviour of ice. The aim of her research is to define a preliminary natural flow law for ice, to contribute to Antarctic ice sheet modelling in a warming climate. The ice flow laws will be tested back in Dunedin and at a special ice physics facility in Pennsylvania.

Antarctica New Zealand Sir Robin Irvine Doctoral Scholarship

Olivia Truax

Olivia Truax
University of Otago- Reconstructing the impact of Antarctic Ice Sheet discharge on Holocene Ross Sea oceanography

Olivia’s research involves examining a core retrieved from Robertson Bay, near Cape Adare in Antarctica. Over the next few years, she will continue her analysis of the sediment core to pull together a geological record that spans the last six thousand years. Her hope is that this detailed record will help reconstruct past climates. Olivia focused on Antarctic geology in 2017 when she began her Masters research at the University of Otago. She is now working with Dr Christina Riesselman.

Past Scholars