Detecting movement in a hatching kiwi egg, Willowbank Wildlife Reserve
Image: Sabine Bernert | ©


DOC offers postgraduate research scholarships for conservation related research in natural and social sciences. These help achieve New Zealand’s conservation goals.

In this context, conservation science includes the biodiversity, visitor and heritage related responsibilities of DOC. They come from a range of disciplines and perspectives.

These perspectives include the:

  • biophysical sciences
  • social sciences including economics, and
  • Te Ao Māori thinking.

2021 application round

Applications for the next round opens August 2021.

Scholarship details

There are 10 one-year scholarships worth up to $15,000 each. The value of each scholarship will be determined by the selection committee.

Selection criteria

The selection committee uses these criteria:

  • Relevance of research topic to the achievement of Aotearoa New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy 2020, the Visitor Strategy and DOC’s policy, strategic and operational priorities.
  • Relevance to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.
  • Proposed research contributes to relevant body of knowledge.
  • Academic merit.
  • Genuine interest in research topic and evidence of commitment to conservation science.

Skills we would like to grow

We accept proposals coming from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds and reflecting a variety of research approaches and skills. However, we’re wanting to grow specific capabilities we feel are required for the DOC Kaupapa.

We’re interested in:

  • behaviour change, for example, environmental psychology, behavioural economics
  • taxonomic and morphological based research that can link to function of species in a system
  • economic modelling, for example, resource economics, ecological economics
  • integrative systems thinking both qualitative or quantitative
  • bicultural perspectives for management. For example, inclusion and integration of Mātauranga Māori into mainstream conservation management.

Who can apply

Applications for the scholarship will be open to candidates:

  • who are enrolled in, or eligible to enrol in, a full time Masters degree in a New Zealand university or equivalent tertiary institution
  • whose proposed course of study includes a minimum research component of 30 Credits, and
  • who will undertake research into a topic identified by DOC as a priority for conservation research.

2020 application round

Applications closed 1 December 2020

Scholarship applications for the 2021 year:

  • opened 20 October 2020
  • closed 1 December 2020.

List of successful applicants.

2020 research priorities

List of 2020 research priorities.


Research priorities or general enquiries, email DOC's Capability Development Team:

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