Scholarships – nurturing enquiring minds.

Imagine what could be discovered if more young people were given the opportunity to explore the challenges facing our environment.

Cawthron Institute partners with tertiary institutions to host undergraduate students. We want to provide the time for graduates, technicians and scientists to develop the skills and knowledge they need to solve pressing environmental issues. Scholarships are important to support the future of scientific discovery and provide experiences for our future innovators.

At Cawthron, scholarships are specifically designed to provide a balance of hands-on learning experiences and scientific excellence. We invite you to contribute to one of our existing Scholarship Funds or to establish your own.

Cawthron Foundation has established three scholarship funds to support undergraduate students studying at New Zealand tertiary institutions. 

Cawthron Foundation scholarships offer 10 weeks internship work at Cawthron Institute in Nelson over summer contributing to a scientific research project.

Sir Theodore Rigg Scholarship Fund

Sir Theodore Rigg (1888-1972) was one of Cawthron’s most renowned scientists. A gifted athlete and scholar, he received undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships. In 1920 Rigg joined Cawthron as an agricultural scientist. He became head of agriculture and chemistry in 1924, assistant director in 1928, and director in 1933. Theodore Rigg retired in 1956 having written over 80 scientific papers, and devoted his entire scientific career to Cawthron Institute.

This fund provides scholarships for undergraduate students.

Kathleen Curtis (Lady Rigg) Scholarship Fund

Kathleen Curtis (1892-1994) was the first New Zealand woman to graduate with a Doctor of Science. She was awarded many scholarships, including the 1851 Exhibition Scholarship, for the high quality of her academic work. Curtis was a founding staff member of Cawthron Institute and the first woman appointed to a research position in New Zealand. Curtis was also an active community leader.

This fund provides scholarships for undergraduate women.

Te Pītau Whakarei Karahipi

The scholarship will support Māori research capability and capacity building in partnership with Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga, New Zealand’s Māori Centre of Research Excellence.  Pītau has dual meaning – the figurehead at the ihu (bow) of the waka; signifies breaking into waves, or a student embarking on their research journey. Pītau is also the word for the unfurled fern frond and signifies growing potential. Whakarei – to ornament; this scholarship will embellish the recipients’ qualification through experiences at Cawthron.

This scholarship provides summer internship funding for a Māori undergraduate students to benefit from participating in cutting-edge research and to build their professional network.

Listen to the inaugural scholarship recipients talk about their experience at Cawthron

How you can help

Your generosity will help support the leaders, innovators and problem-solvers of the future. You can contribute towards our existing Scholarship Funds, or through establishing your own.

You may wish to honour someone special – a family member or someone who has made an outstanding contribution in their chosen field.

The Emery family has donated to the Curtis scholarship for three years now because they “want to enhance the opportunity for young females to enter a career of their choice; not one dictated by finances, society, or tradition”. They have found the Curtis scholars to be “enthusiastic, personable, and intelligent” and say, “We feel that these bright young women will become role models.” Thank you to the Emerys for this support.

We encourage you to contact us if you would like to support our scholarships. 

Further information:
Download our scholarship brochure
Read about the inaugural scholars


Pītau also the word for the unfurled fern frond and signifies growing potential