Mercia Barnes Trust research grants

About the grants

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 a focus on supporting young researchers.

The Mercia Barnes Trust invites applications annually for research fellowships in the area of women’s and reproductive health up to a value of $35,000 each. Smaller or multiple grants are considered.


New Zealand researchers in the field of obstetrics and gynaecology and reproductive health can apply for this grant. You must have support of a host research institution.

Number of grants

The Mercia Barnes Trust invites applications annually for research grants up to a value of $35,000 each. Smaller or multiple grants are considered.

Objectives and outcomes

The Trust encourages 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. Grants are intended to promote knowledge in obstetrics and gynaecology, and further public education and promote the health and welfare of women and children.

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:

Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) presentation

Presentations to other appropriate forums

Provide update in the College’s Pānui member newsletter

Since 1997, grants from the Trust have contributed to a wide range of research projects. Areas of research undertaken 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.

2021Karyn AndersonThe Cost of Birth in New Zealand: A Study ($10,000)
2021Ziamin LiangIs Ultrasound in Pregnancy an Opportunity for Prevention of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction: A Feasibility Study ($24,640)
2021Briar HunterA Review of Clinical Practice Guidelines Relating to Preterm Birth Currently in Use in Aotearoa New Zealand ($35,000)


Applications for the 2022 funding round closed 5pm Friday 5 March 2022.

Six applications have been received covering a range of proposed research topics, including a diagnostic tool for menopause status, possible treatments for ovarian cancer, and endometriosis research.

An application assessment panel is in the process of being formed and funding decisions will be announced by 30 June 2022. 

About Dr Mercia Barnes and the Trust

Mercia Barnes Trust logo and image of Dr Barnes

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.

The Trust is currently administered by the Head of Aotearoa New Zealand Office on behalf of Trustees. The Trustees are Drs Andrew Murray (Chair), Wendy Burgess, Jim Faherty and Ruth Swarbrick, Professor Lesley McCowan and Mrs Phyllis Huitema.

Support the Trust

​The Trust relies on centralised RANZCOG funding as well as donations to continue to provide research fellowships in women’s and reproductive health. 

Your donation will enable the Mercia Barnes Trust to support research to promote women’s health and improve the quality of care and health outcomes for wāhine, pepi and whānau. New Zealand residents can claim tax credits for donations of $5 or more as per IRD advice. An official receipt will be forwarded via email to you. If you have any issues/questions please contact



For more information, please contact the Aotearoa New Zealand office:

Phone: +64 4 472 4608