PhD and Master’s Scholarships

The Trust is proud to fund scholarships for Masters and PhD students focusing on pastoral, grasslands and related science.  To date, the Trust has helped over 20 students with gaining their Masters and PhD’s. The Trust is also a proud supporter along with the New Zealand Grasslands Trust of the Bruce Levy Student Scholarships, you can read more about these scholarships and download an application form here.

Please speak to your university supervisor to see if these scholarships would be a good fit for you.

Bia Oliveira

Name:   Bia Anchao Oliveira

University: School of Agriculture and Environment, Massey University     

Qualification you are working towards: Doctorate

What you are studying/project: Diverse pastures of complementary species as a tool to increase production stability and temporal persistence in New Zealand pastoral systems.                            

Why you find it interesting and why it is important: Within the current climate change scenario, in addition to an ever-increasing global population, food security is a subject of concern for countries. Pasture-based systems are a potential solution to partially mitigate environmental impacts caused by the livestock industry (confinements, degraded grasslands). However, climate change threatens pasture-based systems’ continued success, such as New Zealand ones. Resilient pasture alternatives (multi-functional species allied to grazing management) to contribute to the New Zealand grazing systems are the subject of my research and have been my interest since before coming to New Zealand, within the Brazilian pastoral livestock systems.

What made you want to study ag: My parents. They are farmers and ag researchers.                                 

What do you hope to do in the future?  Work as a pasture scientist in New Zealand. You can see Bia talking about her scholarship here.

Rebekah Wood

Name:   Rebekah Wood

University: Massey University                                                         

Qualification you are working towards: Masters of Agricultural Science

What you are studying/project: My masters is a part of the Whenua Haumanu Project; looking into multispecies pastures and how differing management affects its production, composition and quality.

Why you find it interesting and why it is important: I always found the papers that I took in undergrad on plants and agronomy really interesting, especially toward the end of my degree. I had also worked on a farm with multispecies pastures right before my masters, which made me particularly interested in research around this topic. There is a large focus at the moment on research with multispecies pastures and the benefits in terms of production and quality for farm systems. However, there is limited information on the appropriate management of these pastures. Management has a large impact on production, quality and other factors of the pasture, which is why this research is important.

What made you want to study ag: Well, initially I came to Massey to study vet. When I didn’t get into the course in my first year, I decided to switch to the agricultural science degree to improve my grades. After a semester of studying ag, and spending the summer working my first job on a farm, I decided to continue the degree. I didn’t try to get into vet again, as I really enjoyed the topics covered, and how there was more than just an animal focus.          

What do you hope to do in the future?  I have been really enjoying research so far, and hope to continue it in the future. Whether that be doing a PHD, or a job in a relevant field.

Sam Wilson

Name:  Sam Wilson

University: Massey University, Palmerston North                 

Qualification you are working towards: PhD in Plant Science

What you are studying/project: My project title is investigating the impact of abiotic stresses on the ability of plantain (Plantago lanceolata L.) to persist and grow within perennial ryegrass-based grazed pastures.      

Why you find it interesting and why it is important: Since the beginning of my undergraduate degree, I’ve loved plant science and pasture agronomy – probably due to the inspirational lecturers I had during that time. To be able to apply what I’ve learnt, in a context that could potentially help the New Zealand pastoral industry and community, is an opportunity that I am extremely grateful for. I also get a real kick out of knowing that I am continually in a search for knowledge that no other human being has ever held.

What made you want to study ag: I grew up on a family farm and always felt that I would do something within the agricultural sector. Then, when I went to high school, I discovered that I enjoyed, and was good at science. Studying agricultural science was probably the best way to bring these two together.                                                  

What do you hope to do in the future?  There are a number of roles that I’d like to have a go at and there are many things I that want to achieve in the science and research space. I am looking forward to gaining experience in lecturing agriculture in the near future. As long as I am contributing useful scientific knowledge to society, I will be happy! You can see Sam talking about his scholarship here.

Sivanandarajah Komahan

Name:  Komahan Sivanandarajah (Komahan)

University: Massey University, Palmerston North

Qualification you are working towards: PhD

What you are studying/project: My research is focused on evaluating soil nitrogen losses and the potential of Plantain (Plantago lanceolata L.) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in pastoral dairy production systems. Specifically, I am investigating the effectiveness of Plantain on a paddock scale in reducing greenhouse gases such as methane and nitrous oxide emissions and groundwater nitrogen leaching.                           

What made you want to study ag? Why do you find it interesting?: I am originally from Sri Lanka. In 2019, my wife Shanika and I came to New Zealand after she secured a PhD opportunity at Massey University. Before coming to New Zealand, I had completed both my bachelors and masters’ degrees in Sri Lanka.  While in New Zealand, I intentionally chose to work in the Dairy sector. My first full-time position was on a dairy farm near Bulls, approximately 50 km from Palmerston North. After almost a year there, I joined Massey Dairy 4 farm. My motivation for making these choices was driven by a desire to acquire practical experience in New Zealand’s farming practices. I anticipated that this hands-on experience would potentially lead to opportunities for a PhD position.

What do you hope to do in the future?  After completing my PhD, I am eager to continue learning, staying up to date with advancements in my field, and connecting with like-minded individuals for future collaborations and challenges.