Early Career Researcher Award

The Early Career Science Award was instituted by the New Zealand Freshwater Sciences Society in 2018. The award is intended to recognize and showcase outstanding freshwater research by scientists at the beginning of their careers (as defined by the eligibility criteria below). The NZFSS Executive Committee have a broad definition for outstanding research which includes: research that is highly cited or published in high-impact journals, research that has been incorporated into the management of New Zealand’s fresh waters, research that improves the integration of Māori knowledge into freshwater management as well as science communication and education. The award recipient will be expected to present a plenary talk at the annual NZFSS conference, in the same year as the award is presented, with the talk expected to comprise original work conducted since graduating (although may include some university work for context). The winner will be awarded a $2000 cash prize, as well as complimentary conference registration and up to $1000 towards travel and accommodation costs.


Any current, non-student member of NZFSS who has been a member for at least two years (not necessarily consecutive years and can include a period as a student member) is eligible for the NZFSS Early Career Science Award. The winner will be a New Zealand resident or citizen or have completed their most recent degree at a university in New Zealand. To be eligible they must have graduated, from their most recent degree, no more than eight years prior to the closing date for applications. Time taken for parental leave is not counted as part of the eight-year window (i.e., one year of parental leave extends the eligibility period to nine years since graduating).

Application/Nomination Procedures

Candidates may apply directly or may be nominated. Applications must contain all of the following supporting materials in the stated order:

  1. A letter outlining the basis for the nomination and a summary of research accomplishments (maximum 2 pages),
  2. A curriculum vitae (maximum 4 pages),
  3. Three publications that were authored or co-authored since graduating, only one may be from work associated with their degree,
  4. Names and contact details of two referees who will provide supporting letters if requested.

All supporting materials should be in a font no smaller than Times New Roman 12-point.

This is a biennial award with applications closing on 30 July 2021. The awardee will be notified by 30 August 2021 with the expectation that they will deliver a plenary address at the 2021 NZFSS conference. The award will be determined by members of the NZFSS Executive Committee (or NZFSS members selected by the Executive Committee). Only one award will be made in a given award year. The NZFSS Executive Committee reserves the right to withhold presenting the award if it considers there is not a suitable candidate in any given year.

NZFSS Early Career Researcher Award recipients

Jonathan Tonkin, 2018