The MacDiarmid Institute is New Zealand’s premier educational and research institute with an emphasis on advanced materials and nanotechnology. It is a multi-disciplinary consortium of five universities and two research institutes. The Institute is comprised of scientists and engineers working in one of our partner institutes in one or more of our Research Themes. These individuals have met the criteria and been accepted Principal Investigators (PIs) or Associate Investigators (AIs). and the Institute provides additional resources and facilitates their collaboration.


The Principal Investigator cohort represents New Zealand’s leading Physical Scientists and Engineers in the fields of Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology. Principal Investigators are currently or have clear evidential potential to be at the forefront of their research fields. An open call for applications for Principal Investigator status takes place every three years. Admission to the Institute is dependent on strict criteria being met. To gain Principal Investigator status an applicant must already hold a position in a NZ research organisation. The number of new Principal Investigators is limited by funding considerations. Principal Investigators receive a proportion of their EFT plus a contribution to their travel and operational expenses in support of their excellent research and other Institute based activities. They also have access to studentships and other internal funds under a competitive application scheme. A review of all Principal Investigators is undertaken every three years to ensure that the high standards of the Institute are maintained. If you are interested in applying for Principal Investigator status please contact the Centre Manager.


Associate Investigators advance the goals of the Institute, their contribution to the Institute and scientific collaborations complement and strengthen the Institute’s activities. Given the breadth of these activities within the four strategic areas of the Institute (Science Excellence, Leadership, Inspiration and Benefit to New Zealand) there is no typical Associate Investigator. Associate Investigators enjoy many benefits including access to resources that they would not otherwise have, such as research networks, facilities and professional development. Admission to the Institute is dependent on strict criteria being met. These include being based in New Zealand, and collaborating with at least two MacDiarmid Institute Principal Investigators at the commencement of the role. A census of active Associate Investigators is undertaken every three years. If you are interested in applying for Associate Investigator status please contact the Centre Manager.


There are a large number of graduate students, post doctoral fellows and interns working with PIs or AIs on Institute research projects.  This includes:

  • MacDiarmid funded opportunities. MacDiarmid PhD Scholarships comprise all University fees plus a stipend that provides for a comfortable life.
  • Students and post docs that are funded through other sources.

All studentships are reliant on the admission criteria at the relevant partner institute. In addition to the New Zealand opportunities, the MacDiarmid Institute has relationships with organisations worldwide, such as IBM, that allow emerging scientists to work in other countries. To find out more about the Institute, and the opportunities available, contact one of our PIs or MESA.


Students and post docs associated with the MacDiarmid Institute are automatically part of MESA, the MacDiarmid Emerging Scientists Association. MESA is an innovative new organization, run by students and post docs, whose mission is to develop the skills and opportunities of New Zealand’s young researchers in nanotechnology and advanced materials. There’s a wide range of ways MESA does this, from in-depth technical workshops to innovation and entrepreneurship events, and from networking events to a vibrant social media presence. To learn more and to start benefiting, visit our page.