Mike Collins Memorial Scholarship

The Mike Collins Commercialisation Scholarship supports recipients to undertake a part-time research commercialisation project for 12 weeks, and is accompanied by mentoring and training in best-practice commercialisation techniques. It is designed to be equally valuable to those considering a career as an academic, a start-up founder for a deep-tech company, or in the commercialisation of research.

The award

This scholarship is available to Victoria University of Wellington postgraduate (PhD, Masters, Hons) students and their supervisors, specifically in the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences and School of Engineering. The scholarship provides the opportunity to contribute to the commercial development of a project in the areas of physics, engineering, materials science or electronics, while at the same time developing commercialisation skills.

Each 12 week scholarship is worth $5000 and is available to postgraduates studying physics, physical chemistry, or engineering.

To find out more and apply, click here.

Michael Armstrong Collins

Mike always had a bright outlook on life. He was outgoing and a fantastic speaker. He inspired many—indeed, his son, Ken, recalls Sir Paul Callaghan once saying to him, “Your dad’s the man who got me into science.”

He enjoyed watching people grow. He supported and showed an interest in young and up-and-coming scientists, who often came around to the house for dinner. “That was Mike,” says Ken. “He was a real people person, someone with all the time in the world for his family and people who were passionate about what they did.”

Mike enjoyed a great deal of success in his life. He was plucked from the teaching profession in 1959 by Sir Ernest Marsden, who found a role for him as a scientist at the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR), studying nuclear physics. Thirty years later, he was appointed Director-General.

Throughout what was a distinguished career, Mike never lost his passion for physics. If anything, it delayed his rise through the DSIR. He wanted to be able to walk out of his office and hear and see real science happening, something he knew he would lose when he joined the executive.

Mike had a strong sense of loyalty. He wanted to contribute and couldn’t resist a call for help. In 1993, when the remote Tokelau Islands asked him for assistance to rewrite their constitution, he duly obliged and became their Public Service Commissioner.

Mike was the first Chairman of VicLink (now Wellington Univentures) and a champion of commercialising science to benefit the community. He was a strong supporter of the initial research into superconductivity, which ultimately found a home at the Robinson Research Institute. This scholarship is a fitting tribute to his legacy.