Pasifika Reseacher Among Rutherford Discovery Fellowship Awards

Pasifika PhD researcher from the University of Auckland Dr. Serena Naepi is one of 11 researchers awarded a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship. Of Fijian heritage Dr. Naepi’s research is titled Planning for change: an analysis of neoliberalism, equity and change in higher education.

Dr. Naepi outlined the stages of her project:

  • Exploring experiences of neoliberalism in universities;
  • Exploring mechanisms for future strategic change;
  • Articulating a higher education sector from a Pacific standpoint;
  • Establishing how Pacific ways of learning can transform knowledge production.

All four stages will be grounded in Pacific research methodologies including talanoa – a Pacific narrative enquiry method.

The Rutherford Discovery Fellowships seek to attract, retain, and develop New Zealand’s most talented early-to-mid-career researchers and support their career development by helping them establish a track record for future research leadership.

Chair of the Rutherford Discovery Fellowship Selection Panel in 2021, Professor Vic Arcus, says the Rutherford Discovery Fellowships are “unique”.

“They provide this diverse group of extraordinary researchers that most valuable of commodities: time — a significant amount of time to concentrate on their research and widen and strengthen their networks and connections, to ultimately benefit New Zealand and the world.”

Image credit: Royal Society Te Apārangi  CC BY 3.0