Mercia Barnes Trust

The Mercia Barnes Trust (MBT) was established in 1994 in memory of Doctor Mercia Barnes.

The Trust aims to assist and promote research in the area of women's and reproductive health. The Mercia Barnes Trust specifically supports New Zealand research with the current focus on supporting young researchers.


The Trust's objectives are to:

  • encourage the study and advancement of the science and practice of obstetrics and gynaecology, and the study and teaching of the scientific aspects of human reproduction
  • promote knowledge in obstetrics and gynaecology and related subjects
  • further public education and promote the health and welfare of women and children.

Research Grants

The Mercia Barnes Trust invites applications annually for research fellowships in the area of women's and reproductive health to a value of $35,000 each. Smaller or multiple grants are considered. As well as tabling a report at each AGM of the Trust, recipients are encouraged to publish as well as report progress to colleagues in one of the following ways:

  • ASM presentation
  • an update through newsletters
  • presentation to another appropriate forum.

Since 1997, grants from the Trust have contributed to a very wide range of research projects. The recent focus has been to support young researchers.

Areas of research undertaken thus far include preterm delivery, hysterectomy, vulval cancer, premature ovarian failure, polycystic ovarian syndrome, endometriosis, dysmenorrhoea, small for gestational age babies, HPV testing, IVF and breastfeeding, maternal sleep practices and risk of late stillbirth, and perinatal mortality.

The 2019 funding round has closed.  For further information contact Catherine Cooper, Manager, RANZCOG NZ at +64 4 472 4608

Grant History

Mercia Barnes Trust Research Grant History (PDF)

Trust administration

The Trust is currently administered by the Manager, NZ Office of RANZCOG NZ on behalf of Trustees. The Trustees are Drs Digby Ngan Kee (Chair), Andrew Murray and Jim Faherty, Professor Lesley McCowan and Mrs Phyllis Huitema.


​The Trust relies on centralised College funding as well as donations to continue to make regular grants to worthy research projects.  Trustees are very grateful to the number of regular donors who already support the Trust. The Mercia Barnes Trust provides solid support to two or three worthy projects each year, on average. 

Donations welcome

If you would like to make a donation to the Mercia Barnes Trust in support of research into women's health please complete the donation form below and send to Catherine Cooper, Manager, NZ Office: PO Box 10611, The Terrace, WELLINGTON 6143 or email [email protected].

Mercia Barnes Trust Donation Form Mercia Barnes Trust Donation Form (PDF).

Historical background

Dr Barnes was born in Raetihi. An Otago graduate, she worked in a number of New Zealand hospitals before beginning her O&G training at St Helen's in Christchurch. She was secretary of the NZ Council of RCOG, then the first secretary of the local college when it was formed in 1982. In 1990 she was elected President of the RNZCOG, a position she held until 1994.

In 1994, The Royal New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RNZCOG) initiated the formation of a research trust. Dr Mercia Barnes had recently ended her term as President of the RNZCOG in 1994. Sadly, she died suddenly a few weeks after completing her term of office and the Trust was named in her memory.



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