2022 round opens: 4 August 2022

2022 round closes: 1:00pm, 18 October 2022


Tēnā koe

Welcome to the Prime Minister’s Science Prize.  The 2022 round in now open.

For those who applied for this Prize in 2021 through the portal you can retrieve your past application and use it as a basis as a new application.  For more information about that please click here.  Please be aware that templates for 2022 could have quite possibly been updated.

For new applicants please read the information on this page and then click on link under the ‘red’ heading further down the page when you are ready to apply. This will take you to further documents providing useful information.

We thoroughly recommend you read all the information and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us at pmscienceprizes@royalsociety.org.nz


Ngā mihi

About this Prize

This Prize is for a transformative scientificdiscovery or achievement, which has had a significant economic, health, social, and/or environmental impact on New Zealand, or internationally. It will be awarded to a team or an individual instrumental in creating the impact. The transformative scientificdiscovery or achievement may have occurred over any time-period and there must be a clear indication that the impact on New Zealand or internationally has taken place.



  • Individuals or teams are invited to enter for this Prize. For a team entry, one person must be designated as the ‘Team Representative’. This person will need to be prepared to be the public face of the discovery or achievement. This person will need to be prepared to receive the Prize, speaking with the media, and carrying out tasks appropriate for a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Science Prize.
  • The individual applicant or nominated team representative must be either a New Zealand citizen or a New Zealand permanent resident, currently domiciled in New Zealand, and be active in their field of science.
  • The research behind the discovery or achievement must have met current standards of ethical practice and have been carried out largely in New Zealand.


Re-application by individuals or teams from previous years is encouraged as long as the eligibility criteria continue to be met. However, past winners of the Prize will not be eligible to enter a second time.


1 Scientific should be interpreted broadly to include natural, physical, mathematical and information sciences, applied science, technology, engineering, social science and multi-disciplinary science



  • The total value of the Prize is $500,000.
  • $100,000  of this will go directly to the team or individual with no expectations.
  • $400,000 will be used to support ongoing research as outline in the application.



Adjudication for the Prize will be based on the extent to which a transformative scientifcdiscovery or achievement led to significant economic, health, social and/or environmental impact on or for New Zealand, or internationally?

This can be evidenced in a variety of ways:

  • Successful development and deployment of new or improved products, processes, or services (including public services) based on the research.
  • Advancement of Mātauranga Māori.
  • Major changes to practice in an important professional community or an industrial, business, infrastructural or service sector, at least at a national level.
  • Major changes in relevant public policy and/or government investment or operational strategy, for example in health, social policy, environmental protection, conservation, education, justice or emergency management.
  • Significantly increased investment in the research programme over an extended period of time by potential or actual technology transfer partners or end users.
  • Significant changes in the way a body of knowledge is organised and used (as a result of challenging previous conventional wisdom).
  • Development of new methods that have advanced research practice in the relevant discipline.
  • A high level of recognition through peer review processes, for example through publication in leading journals and the award or prizes.

This list of examples is non-exclusive, and not all evidence forms will be appropriate for any particular application. Each applicant should set out in the application a statement of the nature of the transformative scientifc1 discovery/achievement, and of the impact. The statement should cross-reference with an Evidence Portfolio (maximum 10 pages).

Assessment may include, at the judges’ discretion, consideration of referees’ statements, interview of key personnel or a site visit.


Application Process and finding your way around the portal

  • All Applications need to be completed through the portal.  More details about this process are found here:  Apply Now; Application Process and Finding your way around the Portal
  • The Application Template must be completed by the applicant (if it is an individual entry) or by an agreed team representative if it is a team entry. Those in the team also need to agree to being a member of the team and the application and so each team member needs to register into the portal also.
  • Information must include qualitative and quantitative evidence explaining how the research meets the selection criteria.
  • Evidence might include, for example, patents (pending or granted) and/or seminal papers published (including impact factor and citations)  and/or clinical trials (and what stage they are at) and/or outcomes from the industry or sector the entry is working in.
  • There is also the option through the portal to submit your application in Te Reo if you wish.



  • The entry must be endorsed by two international referees and two New Zealand referees who will give their expert opinion about the impact of the discovery for a transformative scientificdiscovery or achievement. This may be evidenced in a variety of ways (see selection criteria).
  • Please note that comments from referees must be evidence based.
  • Referees must not be collaborators. i.e.
  • “A referee cannot have worked in the team, department, or small company in the last five years as the applicant/team applying for this Prize”.
  • “A referee cannot be a Panellist who serves on this particular Prize panel”.
  • “A referee cannot be a family member”.
  • “A referee cannot have co-authored an academic paper, with 15 authors or less, in the last five years with either the Principal Investigator, or any team member of the application.”
  • “A referee cannot have co-authored an academic paper, with more than 15 authors, in the last five years with either the Principal Investigator, or any team member of the application, if either the referee, the Principal Investigator, or any team member of the application is lead, corresponding, or last author on the academic paper”.
  • “A referee cannot have co-authored three or more academic papers, with more than 15 authors, in the last five years with either the Principal Investigator, or any team member of the application.”
  • Working in the same faculty or a larger organisation is treated on a case by case basis by the selection panel.

If you are unsure then please make contact with the Prime Minister’s Science Prizes Secretariat.

The Selection Panel at its sole discretion, may request further referees or make contact with outside parties.  The panel also reserves the right to hold interviews to help inform their decision.



The secretariat gives no undertaking to keep confidential any information provided in the on-line entry form unless this is identified as information that should be treated as such. Information may, for example, be used to prepare promotional material for the Prize in future years.

Please note that information submitted on the entry form may be subject to the Official Information Act.


Selection Panel Members 2022

Professor Dame Juliet Gerrard, Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor FRSNZ, (Chair)

Professor Jennifer Brown , University of Canterbury

Professor Bronwyn Fox, Chief Scientist, CSIRO

Professor Julian Heyes, Massey University

Professor Martin Kennedy, University of Otago

Hemi Rolleston, Scion Research

Associate Professor Yvonne Underhill-Sem, University of Auckland


Panellists are appointed by the Pou Whakahaere Chief Executive of Royal Society Te Apārangi based on the recommendation of the panel Chairs and secretariat. Appointments are made on a year-by-year basis for each calendar year. Panellists can be appointed for more than one year.  Panellists must be experienced in an appropriate field or community and may be drawn from outside New Zealand if necessary.

Panels will consist of established leaders and researchers in their field, their research and in their communities.  We will also aim to bring emerging people to panels to ensure diverse views and allow for the development of people and new talent.

In considering the suitability of potential panellists, the following requirements for panel composition is considered as appropriate:

  • Mix of discipline/expertise
  • Sector and institutional balance
  • Geographic representation
  • Ethnicity
  • Gender balance.

Royal Society Te Apārangi is committed to following best practice in being inclusive of diversity within our activities.

It is recognised that occasionally members of the selection panel will know applicants or have other conflicts of interest. They will be expected to declare all such knowledge and conflicts of interest. In cases where an applicant is the colleague of a panelist, the Chair of the selection panel will rule if this conflict is significant enough for the panelist to be stood down from the panel for that entry. (In the case of the Chair having a conflict of interest the decision will be made by another member of the panel who has been identified in this role at the beginning of the process).

The selection panel will not enter into any correspondence concerning its deliberations. All inquiries should be directed to the Secretariat. Note that information on matters such as ranking, or names of unsuccessful entrants, will not be disclosed.



  • $400,000 of the Prize is to be used to support the on-going work of the individual or team. A plan for the use of this funding must be included (though this is not part of the selection criteria).
  • The Individual or Team Representative receiving the Prize may be expected to be involved in promotional opportunities appropriate for a recipient of The Prime Minister’s Science Prize.



  • The winner or team is expected to make themselves available for half a day in January/February to meet with the Prime Minister’s Science Prize media liaison personnel in preparation of media material and photos.
  • The winner will be announced in February/March/April.  (date to be confirmed)
  • The winner or team will be expected to make themselves available for that announcement in Wellington.




Applications close at 1.00pm on Tuesday 18  October 2022.  Late applications will not be eligible..



Ko te Kaiwhakahaere the Secretariat for The Prime Minister’s Science Prizes is Royal Society Te Apārangi.  Contact details are:

Te Kaiwhakahaere the Secretariat
The Prime Minister’s Science Prizes
Royal Society Te Apārangi
PO Box 598

Waea telephone: (04) 470 5762

Īmēra email:  pmscienceprizes@royalsociety.org.nz.



Supported by the New Zealand Government with funding from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.  Nā Te Hīkina Whakatutuki te mana hāpai.