Postgraduate Research Excellence Awards

Victoria University of Wellington established the Postgraduate Research Excellence Awards in 2009. The awards recognise research by VUW postgraduate students that:

  • Displays academic rigour, excellence, originality, or creativity;

  • Advances knowledge in the field or significantly contributes to knowledge;

  • Is communicated clearly, in a way that an educated but non-expert audience can understand;

  • Has a demonstrated impact within the scholarly, economic, or wider stakeholder communities;

Applicants for the awards must explain, in not more than 1000 words, how their research meets the above criteria. This explanation should also refer to and contextualise the evidence provided (see below) within the applicant’s postgraduate research.

Evidence Required

In addition to the explanation of the importance of the research, applicants must submit supporting evidence of work not more than two years old (from the date of application) that was completed while enrolled in a postgraduate research programme at Victoria University of Wellington. Evidence should be one of the following:

  • A journal article (either published or accepted for publication);

  • A published contribution to an edited book (of a scholarly nature);

  • A published conference contribution (published in a proceedings and available independently of the conference in which it was presented);

  • Outputs from creative practice as research, including:

    • Artefact/Object/Craftwork;

    • Composition;

    • Design Output;

    • Dramatic or Literary Text;

    • Exhibition/Curatorial Exercise;

    • Film/Video;

    • Recording of a live performance;

  • A creation of commercialised intellectual property or a patent;

  • An unpublished piece of research suitable for publication (the 1000 word explanation of how the research meets the criteria should note the details of where/how the work would be published)

The work must be submitted in full, and it must be complete, i.e. it must be possible to evaluate the work independently of its place in a larger work of which it may form a part.

In principle the work should not take more than 30 minutes to fully absorb and comprehend. If the format of the work is text, it must be no more than 10000 words. If the format is audio/video recording it must be no more than 30 minutes long. A work may be disqualified for being too long to review at the discretion of the reviewing committee.

Maori Knowledge and Development

Applicants may select whether they wish to have their research considered for this award. Māori Knowledge and Development incorporates one or more of the following:

  • Māori world views (both traditional and contemporary);

  • Māori methods of research;

  • Research that benefits Māori people or communities.

Value and Quantity of Awards

Each year, applications are considered by a committee convened by the Vice-Provost (Research). One candidate from each faculty will be selected to receive one of these prestigious awards, as well as one candidate from any faculty whose work advances Māori Knowledge and Development.

While there will normally be one candidate from each faculty and one candidate whose work advances Māori knowledge and development, the committee reserves the right not to make an award if there are no suitable candidates.

Each award provides $1500 to recognise the research excellence demonstrated. The PGSA announces the winners of the awards at the Victoria’s Awards function in November.


Applicants must be enrolled VUW postgraduate students engaged in either a research Master’s, PhD, or research Doctorate programme. Applicants must be fully registered for their research Doctorate/PhD programme or have had their Master’s research proposal fully approved by their School.

As these are research degree awards, Honours, Postgrad Diplomas and taught Master’s are not eligible. Applicants who have received this award in the past are not eligible.

Obligations and agreements for all applicants

The PGSA will invite finalists to attend the Victoria’s Awards. All winners must attend the PGSA Victorias Awards function to receive the award.

As this award recognises the excellence of research already conducted, there is no obligation on recipients to use the proceeds of this award in any specific manner or provide evidence of how it has been used.

Recipients may wish to use their award for research purposes, in which case the award may be distributed through the Research Trust of Victoria University of Wellington and the usage must be consistent with the Trust’s policies. Recipients wishing to use their award for research purposes, should indicate this at the time of awarding.

Process for Allocating Awards

Applications are considered by a committee convened by the Vice-Provost (Research). The winners of the awards are announced at the PGSA Victorias Awards function in November.

How to apply

Applications for 2019 are now open, and will close at 5pm on Friday 27 September.