Auckland Medical Aid Trust Scholarship

Supporting Tomorrow's innovators

Since 2005, Auckland Medical Aid Trust has offered a scholarship of up to $25,000 per year for doctoral students in New Zealand. Several of our scholarship recipients have completed PhDs; another is due to complete this year.

Three students are currently being supported by scholarship funding – one at the University of Auckland and two at the University of Waikato.

The purpose of the scholarship is to encourage research into social issues concerning being and becoming human.

New Zealand is currently debating the impact of the changing relationship between nature and technology in a number of different fields.

This Scholarship is designed to further that debate by promoting discussion of the cultural, ethical, legal, and spiritual issues arising from such developments.

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The Selection Committee will consider projects that intersect with these debates from a number of disciplines across the arts and humanities, including, but not limited to, bioethics, sociology, philosophy, anthropology, Maori studies, education, religion, and law.

The Scholarship is administered by the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors’ Committee in Wellington, which will be responsible for publicising the availability of the Scholarship, receiving applications, assisting the Scholarship’s Board in the selection process, advising candidates of the results, arranging for payments, and reporting annually on the outcomes.

Application details are advertised on the website of Universities New Zealand – Te PÕkai Tara.

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Education as a contestable field

It can be argued that the objectives of AMAT embrace the (re)production of the human subject. Education, as a discipline and as an event, is crucial to the investigation of the process of producing human beings.

Education as an event – a phenomenon – is a both an informal and a formal process through which the ‘naked’ child takes on the physical and metaphysical clothing of its community.

Education as a discipline investigates how this happens, how it can be made to happen better, and whether or not we can justify some or all of the happenings associated with the education of the child. There is therefore, a descriptive, an instrumental and an ethical element to much education research, although obviously some research is more instrumental (how can we do it better) and some is more ethical (should we be doing this?).

There is often a kind of indignant reaction to education research along the lines that we should leave people alone to just ‘get on with it’ – ‘leave the kids alone’ as Pink Floyd sang, or stop interfering in family disciplinary practices (‘spare the rod and spoil the child’), or leave teachers alone so they can get on with it – as if there were an ‘it’ which is innocent of education. Children are educated by parents, siblings, peers, teachers, reading, and the media in all its forms.

Their environment educates them, in one way or another. To envisage a child growing up without learning is like asking a tadpole to grow up out of water. When Education as a discipline describes, prescribes or evaluates the learning experiences of children it is not in a situation where an alternative to education is possible. An alternative to formal education may be possible, but not to education itself, understood in its wider connotations of learning and socialisation.

In this wider sense, education is what enables a community to grow its own replacements. Children are ‘socialised’ or educated into seeing themselves as members of specific communities who take part in quite definable ractices – hip hop, Passover, Christmas, circumcision, Diwali.


There are various viewpoints in the current debate about what makes a good education.