Fact Sheet 1 – Innovative New Zealand: $410.5m boost for science and innovation

  • Steven Joyce
Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Science and Innovation Economic Development Budget 2016


The Government will significantly increase its investment in science and innovation through Budget 2016’s Innovative New Zealand package, providing a further $410.5 million in operating funding over the next four years.

Investing in the work of our scientists and innovators is hugely important for developing an innovative New Zealand with a truly resilient and diversified economy.

The increased funding will greatly strengthen New Zealand’s science system. It will increase investment in the sector by a further 15 per cent by 2019/20, taking cross-government investment in science and innovation to $1.6 billion annually for the first time.

Innovative New Zealand is a major step towards delivering on the vision of the National Statement of Science Investment. It also supports the Business Growth Agenda, which seeks to grow business investment in R&D to over 1 per cent of GDP.

What is new?

1. $113.8 million over four years for the new Endeavour Fund

The biggest single investment is $113.8 million over four years for the new Endeavour Fund, previously known as the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment Contestable Fund, which has been re-focused towards longer-term, high impact, mission-led programmes of science.

The Endeavour Fund will invest in science that has a strong potential impact on New Zealand’s economy, environment and society. The Fund will increase in size from $182.7 million in the 2015/16 year to $200.4 million by 2019/20.

2. $66 million over the next four years for the Marsden Fund

This will increase the annual amount available for the Marsden Fund by 49 per cent over four years, growing it from $53.6 million in 2015/16 to $79.8 million in 2019/20.

The Marsden Fund supports excellence in science, engineering, maths, social sciences and humanities by providing grants for investigator-initiated research. It is highly sought after by New Zealand scientists.

3. $63 million over four years for the new Strategic Science Investment Fund

Budget 2016 brings together and expands a number of the Government’s strategic funding investments into a single new Strategic Science Investment Fund. This will provide a mechanism for the Government to initiate, evaluate and compare for effectiveness a range of different strategic science investments.

The new Strategic Science Investment Fund will include strategic funding (formerly known as Core funding) for Crown Research Institutes and independent research organisations, and funding for core science programmes and infrastructure. 

The new funding in Budget 2016 will go towards strategic freshwater research, the operation of the Research Vessel Tangaroa; maintenance of the Nationally Significant Collections and Databases held in Crown Research Institutes; and developing New Zealand’s expertise in genomics and precision medicine.

The additional $63 million over four years takes the total value of the fund to over $250 million per year.

4. $97 million over four years for additional health research through the Health Research Council (previously announced)

Annual funding for the Health Research Council will increase from $77 million in 2015/16 to $120 million in 2019/20.

5. $15 million over four years for the new Catalyst international Fund

This will support initiatives to strengthen international research collaboration and link New Zealand with world-class research projects, groups and infrastructure around the world.

6. $12 million over four years for the Pre-Seed Accelerator Fund (previously announced)

This funding will support the commercialisation of publicly-funded research, enabling a greater economic return on New Zealand’s science system.

7. $3 million over four years to continue the Accelerators Programme (previously announced) 

This will support the rapid formation of early-stage information technology and digital start-ups.

8. $4 million over four years for the Māori Innovation Fund

This will help more Māori enterprises gain the skills, knowledge and networks they need to get new ventures off the ground and grow existing businesses and asset bases.

9. $20 million over four years for the Global Research Alliance

This funding will be used to progress Global Research Alliance research through proof-of-concept to pilot studies and commercialisation, and support international initiatives that address mitigation of emissions from livestock. The Global Research Alliance was established in 2009 and aims to bring countries together to find ways to grow more food without increasing greenhouse gas emissions.

10. $16.7 million over four years for Antarctica New Zealand

This funding will sustain Antarctica New Zealand's provision of logistics support and related services, which is used to facilitate research undertaken within the Government's science priorities for Antarctica.