Best Brains Britain-Bound Awarded Woolf Fisher Scholarships

Press Release – Joe Public Relations

Unravelling the discrepancies in quantum gravity theory, boosting New Zealand’s growth by improving international commercial law and tax policy, and examining regional integration in South East Asia, will be researched by three of New Zealand’s top …Monday, 3 October 2011

NZ’s Best Brains Britain-Bound

Awarded Woolf Fisher Scholarships

Unravelling the discrepancies in quantum gravity theory, boosting New Zealand’s growth by improving international commercial law and tax policy, and examining regional integration in South East Asia, will be researched by three of New Zealand’s top university graduates heading to the University of Cambridge, UK, next year with prestigious Woolf Fisher Scholarships.

Auckland’s Chris Jenkins, Nelson’s Matthew Castle and Waikato’s Kane O’Donnell were shortlisted, interviewed and selected by the trustees of the Woolf Fisher Trust, for their outstanding academic abilities and potential leadership. They possess many of the qualities admired by the late Sir Woolf Fisher, co-founder of Fisher and Paykel; integrity, leadership, boldness of vision and exceptional zeal, keenness and capacity for work.

The Woolf Fisher Trust offers up to three scholarships each year tenable at the University of Cambridge, for three or four years of post graduate research leading to a doctoral degree.

Aucklander Chris Jenkins has an economics and law honours degree from the University of Auckland. Next year he will continue his education at the University of Cambridge, where he will research the history and economics of tax policy and international commercial law, with a view to reforming the law to improve trade and investment in New Zealand. The 23 year old works as a solicitor at Russell McVeagh, and enjoys target shooting, tennis and debating.

International relations student Matthew Castle is a 24 year old Victoria University Master of Arts student. Born in Capetown, and growing up in Rotorua and Nelson, Matthew plans to move to Cambridge next year, to continue his research in international relations. At Cambridge, he will explore the relationship between regional integration and region-to-region relations. Matthew hopes his research will benefit the international community’s understanding of inter-regional relations to assist with foreign and trade policy making, including in New Zealand and Australia. The French speaker enjoys the outdoors, keeping fit, and travelling.

Waikato’s Kane O’Donnell, a 21 year old University of Canterbury Science honours student, is heading to Cambridge next year to explore theoretical physics, and aims to make a contribution to the huge task of unravelling the underlying reason for the discrepancy between quantum mechanics and general relativity theories. Kane spends his spare time outdoors, be it doing sport, tending his vegetable garden or cycling the countryside. Kane says in all his life pursuits, he follows Albert Einstein’s advice to “never lose a holy curiosity,” and to “never stop questioning”.

The scholarships will be taken up in October 2012 and provide each recipient with full college and university fees and a living allowance. The annual value of each scholarship is close to $100,000.

The Trustees hope that the Woolf Fisher Scholars will make a long-term commitment to New Zealand and that they will become leaders in their fields.

Sir Noel Robinson, the Trust’s chairman, says this year’s shortlist reflects an outstanding calibre of scholars.

“The quality of our candidates is just so high now. We believe they each have the potential to take up leadership roles in New Zealand, and there’s no reason why all three students couldn’t become world leaders in their own right.

“All three scholars have chosen to study at Cambridge. If Matthew, Chris and Kane follow in the footsteps of our previous recipients, Cambridge’s supervisors will continue to embrace our students as they have told us the Kiwi recipients are punching way above their weight.”

Sir Noel says the challenge now, is to ensure the scholars will return to New Zealand after their studies.

“We just hope we see them back in New Zealand as their knowledge will be at the forefront of the world’s emerging technologies and discoveries. Our country has a responsibility to ensure our best brains can come back home,” he said.

The Woolf Fisher Trust invests almost $1 million each year in their scholarship programme, with 11 New Zealanders currently studying at either University of Oxford or Cambridge.

www.woolffishertrust.co.nz

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