Four New Zealand postgraduate students have won William Georgetti Scholarships worth a total of $318,000 to attend top world universities.

They were:

* Emma Dixon, going from University of Otago to Oxford University, to study biochemistry.

* Tehnuka Ilanko, from University of Waikato, to Cambridge University to study volcanology.

* Rebecca Rose, from University of Waikato, to either Harvard, New York, Chicago, Cambridge or Oxford University, to study applications of economics and quantitative methods to law and legal institutions.

* Richard Zhang, from University of Canterbury to Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to investigate issues surrounding electric and hybrid vehicle engines.

This scholarship was established from the estate of William Georgetti who died in 1943, who wanted the money to go to the best available brains.