News / CALL OPEN NOW: Kia Niwha Leader Fellowships - Information and Q & A

CALL OPEN NOW: Kia Niwha Leader Fellowships - Information and Q & A


Te Niwha’s Vision is to ensure that Aotearoa, New Zealand’s response to current, on-going and emerging infectious disease threats is characterised domestically and internationally as strong, prepared and unified. To fulfil this Vision, our Mission must therefore ensure that we retain and build world-class research capability in Aotearoa, New Zealand for current and future infectious disease challenges. 

Te Niwha now opens the call for applications for the Kia Niwha Leader Fellowship programme.

All documents required for application can be found under Resources
Information and guideline document
Application form
CV template.

Should you have any pātai, please do not hesitate to contact us at

Q & A

The questions and answers below are a collection of enquires via e-mail and at the information session and will be updated as further questions are being sent in. If you can't find an answer to your question, please contact us at

I have a NZ resident visa, but I am not a permanent resident yet. Am I eligible?
Yes, a New Zealand resident visa will be acceptable for your application. 

I was awarded my PhD in 2015, but took maternity leave and primary caregiver responsibility for one child. Am I eligible?
Yes, you are eligible. 

There are circumstances that enable extension of the eligibility years, is there also leniency around the minimum time post-PhD?
Please get in touch if you would like to apply but are less than 3 years post-graduation from your PhD. In general, we will consider applications however you need to convince the panel that you are sufficiently experienced to fully benefit from this programme. Please also keep in mind that your application will be compared to those from people with more experience. Ultimately it will come down to who the panel thinks will best align with our Charter and contribute towards fulfilling our Vision and Mission.
Is it mandatory to hold a PhD?
Yes, this is a postdoctoral fellowship. 

My circumstances don’t allow me to take up the fellowship until later in 2024. Is it a possibility or does the fellowship need to be started June 1st?
We will consider a later start under exceptional circumstances. Use the application forms to convince the assessment panel that you have a solid plan for the tenure of the fellowship (if you would start later, you should consider a higher FTE level equivalent to at least 0.5 FTE over a whole year – for example Aug-May = 10 months at min 0.6 FTE or Sep-May = 9 months at min 0.67 FTE). We also require you to commit to attending any Wānanga that would be held before the start of your fellowship. 

Will these fellowships be available to apply for annually?
Te Niwha is funded as a platform until end of August 2025. To work within that timeframe, there are currently only plans for this one round of fellowships.

On the guidelines in the application process it mentions emailing the completed application by 29 March 2024, 5 pm but in other locations it’s 5 April 2024 at 12 pm. What is the correct deadline?
Apologies for this oversight. The deadline to submit applications is 5 April 2024, 12 pm. 

I missed the online information session – will there be another one?
Questions answered are reflected here. There are currently no plans for another information session however if this changes, you will receive an invited if you register your interest with 

Can a fellowship be awarded to an organisation?
No, this fellowship is awarded to an individual, however they will have to be hosted by an Aotearoa-based research organisation who will hold and administer the contract with Te Niwha.

Would you recommend supplying more than the minimum 3 letters of support?
If you feel that additional letters (no more than 5 total please) will strengthen your application, you are welcome to submit those, but the count of support letters as such will not put you at an advantage. Three very strong support letters will likely serve you better than five mediocre ones. 

Who counts as community partner? Does it need to be a research-related partner or someone from my community group that I support as a community member?
Your community partner can be research-related, however doesn’t have to be. We appreciate that you might not be at that point of your journey yet where you have community research partners. This could be any community that you are involved in, for example through volunteering. 

Workplan: What are Te Niwha’s expectations around split between new research projects developed through this time and professional development? Is it ok to focus more heavily on the professional development?
The professional development of the applicant can and should be a strong focus of this fellowship. Additionally we’d like to see an aspect of developing their research programm further, for example this could be by collecting preliminary data that will help to develop new studies and grant applications. 

For the international placement, what are the expectations for being away from pre-existing commitments towards students and teaching? 
The placements are recognising that for researchers at this point in their career it can be valuable to spend some time immersed in another research organisation. We expect at least that month spent with international counterparts. 

For the international placement, can existing connections be brought into this? 
We acknowledge that people have their own connections and Te Niwha is open to a kōrero in that regard. 

Does the placement have to be an international one, or could it be at another research institution in Aotearoa New Zealand? 
We acknowledge that people might have family commitments, and are open to kōrero around location of the placement.  

Does the work need to be on human infectious diseases or could it be on animal diseases?  
The focus of Te Niwha is on human health. Topics focusing solely on animal-health issues would therefore not be fundable, however zoonotic diseases and animal-health issues that impact on human health are well within the scope of Te Niwha. A good guideline is the “Likely Future Pandemic Agents and Scenarios” framework developed within a Te Niwha project.

What do you expect in the section about mentoring?
You can but do not need to provide the names of a mentor or mentors. What we ask for is that you talk about who has been a mentor for you so far or currently – or what you are looking for in a mentor. We want to make sure that our fellows are well supported throughout their fellowship and that we understand in which areas they need mentoring. Your mentor could be someone you have worked with for a long time, or there could be benefit in having a mentor who’s not in your immediate research team and provides you with different perspectives. You can use this section to propose one or more people you know who could be your mentors over the next year, or you could also provide a description of what you would like to get out of a mentoring relationship – and Te Niwha would help you identify a suitable mentor.

For Attachments on page 19 of the guidelines, it asks for a budget. Is this in addition to the supplied budget on page 22 of the application form or is this referring to the same thing? 
This is the same thing – please use the supplied template (up to 1 page).

Is there a preferred font size and style?
There is no compulsory font size or style, however please keep legibility and our reviewer's time in mind (Ask yourself whether you would like to review your document).

For the 'Research whakapapa' (1-page limit) and 'Research work plan' (3-page limit), can we delete the instructions in italics so this doesn't use up space in our application? 
Yes, absolutely – please feel free to delete any instructions.

Where do I include the references for the 'Research work plan' section?
Please put them after the milestones and timeline sub-section. They do not count towards the 3-page limit for this section. 

Can the milestones and timeline and references of 'Research work plan' go beyond the 3-page limit? 
We ask you to be concise and fit these sections within three pages – references however can go on an extra page. You might chose to have more or fewer milestones than lines provided in the table, please adjust the table accordingly.