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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Woolf Fisher Trust?

The late Sir Woolf Fisher was a passionate supporter of education in New Zealand. In 1960 he founded the Woolf Fisher Trust for the advancement of scientific and general education in New Zealand through its prestigious fellowships and scholarships. When making these awards, the Trust has always sought to uphold the guiding principles and values of its founder.


What is the Scholarship worth?

The scholarships are estimated to be worth around $100,000 per student per year. Three or four years of funding will be provided, depending on the length of the student’s doctoral course.

The funding includes:
>    a maintenance allowance of £13,000 per annum
>    approved University and College fees
>    an annual London-New Zealand return economy airfare
How do I apply for the scholarship?
Go to the Universities New Zealand website to apply online. Please do not send information directly to the Woolf Fisher Trust.

How is the scholarship awarded?

The scholarship recipients will be announced at the completion of personal interviews of a short-list of candidates by a Selection Committee. Application closing date is the 1st of August in each year for doctoral study starting the following year.

How does the Woolf Fisher Scholarship compare with other awards?

The scholarship is broadly comparable to the long-established Rhodes Scholarship which offers study at Oxford University for up to three years.

However, the Woolf Fisher Scholarship has a strong emphasis on high academic achievement and potential, and is for three or four years of doctoral study at Cambridge University. It also seeks Scholars with strong connections to New Zealand and provides them with an annual return flight to New Zealand.

What are the criteria for applying?

The Woolf Fisher Scholarship recognises graduates of New Zealand universities at the top of their chosen subject who have first class Honours degrees and who want to undertake doctoral studies at a world-class university.

Candidates must have studied for at least two years in a New Zealand secondary school and they should demonstrate some of the qualities which Sir Woolf Fisher admired: integrity, leadership, bold vision, exceptional zeal, keenness and capacity for work.

How are the scholarships funded?

Through the Woolf Fisher Trust, which since 1960 has managed and built Sir Woolf Fisher’s original legacy.

Do Scholars have to come back to New Zealand?

Scholars are not compelled to return to New Zealand, but will be encouraged to do so during their studies through the provision of an annual economy return airfare and the availability of a post-doctoral scholarship. It is hoped that former Scholars will maintain a beneficial connection to New Zealand during their working life.


Who is eligible for a Fellowship?

Secondary, intermediate and primary principals, and secondary teachers. These are not available by application.

How do I apply for a Woolf Fisher Fellowship?

The Trust does not accept applications for Fellowships. Instead, trustees use a system of nomination which seeks to ensure that the awards are made to worthy principals and teachers across a range of schools and subjects.

Please Note: The essence of the Fellowships is the element of surprise. Under no circumstances can we accept applications for the Woolf Fisher Fellowships. This is a longstanding policy.

How many Fellows are there each year?

Approximately 15.

Do the Fellows have a choice of which countries they visit?

Countries are suggested by the trustees, but sensible variation is allowed.

Are Fellows paid during their study trips?

Under an agreement with the Ministry of Education, Fellows will continue to receive their full salary and the Ministry will pay for relief teaching costs to cover the period of the Fellowship award.

What qualities do Fellows have?

Fellows are measured primarily by the achievements of the schools they lead or of the students they teach. They must also demonstrate some of the qualities which Sir Woolf Fisher admired: integrity, leadership, bold vision, exceptional zeal, keenness and capacity for work.