$209m funding for new science projects

  • Steven Joyce
Science and Innovation

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce has today announced a total investment of over $209 million over the next five years in new scientific research projects through the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) 2016 Endeavour Fund.

“The Endeavour Fund is a very important fund in the Government’s ten-year vision for a highly dynamic New Zealand science system,” Mr Joyce says. “It invests in excellent science that is designed to have a positive impact for New Zealand economically, environmentally and socially in a three to ten year timeframe.

“It sits alongside the Marsden Fund, which is designed to promote discovery science, the Health Research Fund, administered by the Health Research Council, and the business-led R&D programmes of Callaghan Innovation.”

“This year’s successful recipients will make a visible and measurable contribution to our country through excellent science.”

The Endeavour Fund supports both Smart Ideas initiatives and larger Research Programmes. Smart Ideas initiatives catalyse and rapidly test promising, innovative research ideas, and contracts are awarded for two to three years. Research Programmes are awarded for three to five years and support ambitious research ideas, with high potential to deliver significant impact for New Zealand’s economy, environment, and society.

Up to $10 million per year in total will be invested in 28 projects under the Smart Ideas initiative, and up to $38 million per year in total will be invested in 28 Research Programmes.

Successful applications for 2016 include:

  • The "Achilles Heel" of Pest Control – Landcare Research New Zealand Ltd: A new technology to develop new species-selective toxins, which will improve pest control and remove or substantially reduce risks to New Zealand’s natural environment and biodiversity.
  • Smart long term bio-potential sensors – Auckland University of Technology: Using contactless electrodes that have improved ‘wear-ability’ to sense electrical activity of the brain and heart for rehabilitation, fitness, consumer electronics and long term healthcare.
  • Hikurangi Subduction Earthquakes and Slip Behaviour – GNS Science: The study of the Hikurangi Subduction Zone will provide a scientific base for assessments of hazard, risk and potential losses due to great earthquakes on New Zealand’s largest and fastest-moving plate boundary.
  • Kiwi Rescue – Landcare Research New Zealand Ltd: This study will work to identify kiwi on their land, to help their land management and restoration decisions. Together, these diverse advances and new tools will help DOC, Kiwis for Kiwi, Māori and other involved communities recover kiwi populations faster, more cheaply, and across more of Aotearoa/New Zealand.
  • Novel Farming Systems Enabling multiple Shellfish Species Culture in Open Ocean Sites – Cawthron Institute: This programme will design revolutionary new flotation and mooring systems to facilitate shellfish aquaculture in the open ocean and enhance productivity in this environment.
  • Enhanced Geothermal Energy Recovery Through Nanotechnology – Research Trust of Victoria University – Wellington: The development of geothermal energy is compromised by the presence of silica in geothermal brines, which forms problematic silica scale in pipelines, heat exchangers, and valves. Innovative disruptive technology will be developed so that no silica scale can be formed.
  • Next Generation S-Map, Smarter Decisions – Landcare Research New Zealand Ltd: A novel and integrative approach to enable cost effective mapping and modelling for NZs highly complex and variable soils. This research will substantially reduce uncertainty in soils information and guide decision-making to enable farming within environmental limits.

“Excellent scientific research that delivers great results is critical to lifting innovation and economic growth, and improving the lives of all New Zealanders,” Mr Joyce says.

“I congratulate all successful applicants and look forward to the discoveries that this investment will make possible.”

The successful proposals were selected by the MBIE Science Board, an independent statutory Board, following a review by independent experts. The new research contracts will begin on 1 October 2016.

More information on the successful research programmes can be found here.