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Zonta Science Award 2022

Aims of the award

​The Zonta Science Award was established to further the status of women in scientific fields. The Award is for an emerging woman scientist (a recent PhD graduate rather than a woman well established in the science field).


The Award aims to:

  • encourage women to pursue a career in science

  • recognise women in scientific fields

  • acknowledge the valuable contribution of women scientists.

The Zonta Science Award 2024 will be the 18th Award since its inception in 1990. You can find out more about previous winners of the Award here:

Aims of the Award

Winner of the Science Award - Dr Tara McAllister

​The Zonta Science Award 2022 was awarded to Dr Tara McAllister (Te Aitanga a Māhaki), Freshwater Ecologist.

Tara's research provides a new focus on the global understanding of toxic blooms in rivers and has helped develop novel approaches to bloom mitigation and management. High-quality freshwater is a vital commodity and the deterioration in water quality at a time of increasing demand is a key global issue.

Tara utilised Mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) in her research and has contributed to a review of the challenges and solutions to managing underwater cyanobacteria with collaborators from France and the USA.

Tara was awarded a prize of $25,000, and presented with a Zonta Science Award special pounamu medal designed by Neke Moa by Dame Claudia Orange DNZM OBE, New Zealand historian and Zontian. 

Find out more:

Award Criteria

Award criteria

Applicants must be a woman who:

  • is a New Zealand resident

  • has a PhD (usually within 7 years of graduation)

  • has excelled in the fields of pure or applied science (excluding clinical medicine i.e. medical research that involves human subjects)

  • is studying for further post-doctorate qualifications or is involved in research that has widespread benefits

  • is able to communicate to peers and non-scientists

  • contributes to her community

  • actively promotes science as a career for women

  • is/will be an advocate for these women

  • for whom this Award would assist further career advancement. 

Will I be excluded if I am over 7 years from graduating as a PhD?

No but you must give the reason, for example a break from work due to family circumstances or illness.

Is it essential that I am a New Zealand Resident?

Applicants do not need to be New Zealand citizens, but if not must have a residency visa and not be in New Zealand on a student visa.

What if my current research takes me offshore?

You must usually reside in New Zealand and be conducting research with a New Zealand institution.

Can I use the funds to employ someone for child care or as a research assistant?

No. The funds must be used by you for research material, expenses or travel.​

What the winner receives

  • A cash prize to fund travel, education, materials, and/or activities that will advance her research and career. 

  • A bespoke commemorative medal.

  • A certificate of achievement.

The Winner Receives
The Selection Process

The selection process

During the selection process, up to ten finalists will be selected from all applicants. These finalists are then referred to a panel of invited judges with university, government, science, industrial, or business backgrounds.


The judges assess the candidates against the criteria and a shortlist of up to three applicants is developed. The shortlisted applicants will be interviewed in Wellington 2024 and a winner selected. 

An award ceremony will be held in Wellington 2024.

Recipient Requirements

The award recipient's requirements

The Award recipient will be asked to:

  • travel as soon as practicable after receiving the award

  • provide photo and promotional opportunities and give media interviews as requested

  • provide a written report within one month of their return to New Zealand on the benefits of receiving the award and the research outcomes

  • speak to relevant groups including Zonta Clubs, schools, and other service or community groups

  • and at a sponsor's meeting if requested about the award, the outcomes, and the research benefits it provided

  • maintain contact with the Convenor of the Zonta Science Award.

Our Sponsors


The 2022 Award has been solely sponsored by the Clare Foundation a philanthropic organisation that invests in ways that positively impact our environment, oral health, youth well being, and women, to create extraordinary change.


The Zonta Club of Wellington makes an annual financial contribution in addition to administering the Award and are very pleased to have Clare partner them in 2022.

A full list of previous sponsors can be found in the Album of Winners.

We are very grateful for the support received from our sponsors and the recipient is expected to acknowledge our sponsors when appropriate.

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Science Award 2024

Information about the next Science Award will be available in September 2023.

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