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Notice Type
Departmental
Notice Title

Criteria for Proposals for Science-led Contestable Funding

1. Notice to the Science Board
Pursuant to section 8(1) of the Research, Science, and Technology Act 2010, I set the criteria specified in this notice for the assessment by the Science Board of proposals for Science-led contestable funding.
2. Policy objective
2.1 The policy objective of Science-led contestable funding is to fund research, science, and technology that has the potential to:
(a) enhance the productivity of established industries; or
(b) generate new industries for New Zealand; or
(c) add new value to public services in New Zealand; or
(d) develop world-leading technological capabilities by supporting research programmes to develop technology able to support a range of applications, products, and services.
2.2 Vision Matauranga is a theme that traverses Science-led contestable funding. It encompasses Maori innovation and focuses on four themes:
(a) Contributing to economic growth through distinctive science and innovation;
(b) Taiao - achieving environmental sustainability through iwi and hapu relationships with land and sea;
(c) Hauora/Oranga - improving health and social wellbeing; and
(d) Matauranga - exploring indigenous knowledge and science and innovation.
3. Investment mechanisms
The investment mechanisms available under Science-led contestable funding are described in the Schedules to this notice.
4. Eligibility criteria for Science-led contestable funding
4.1 Proposals for Science-led contestable funding must be assessed against the following eligibility criteria:
(a) Proposals from researchers from public research organisations and other research providers for research that will benefit New Zealand are eligible;
(b) proposals from researchers from private sector organisations are not eligible if the scientific research, development or technology transfer activities are solely for the benefit of that organisation; and
(c) it is expected that a significant proportion of the research will be undertaken in New Zealand.
4.2 Proposals for Science-led contestable funding must also be assessed against any additional eligibility criteria in the relevant Schedule.
5. Assessment criteria for Science-led contestable funding
Proposals for Science-led contestable funding that meet the eligibility criteria must be assessed against the assessment criteria in the relevant Schedule.
6. Additional criteria for Science-led contestable funding
6.1 When assessing proposals and allocating Science-led contestable funding, the following additional criteria must be taken into account:
(a) Funding allocations must be consistent with the Public Finance Act 1989 and the relevant vote administered by the Ministry of Science and Innovation;
(b) the assessment and allocation must take into account the relevant Sector Investment Plan ("Plan") (if any), including the investment strategy for each output expense; and
(c) proposals must be assessed against any additional criteria in the relevant Schedule.
6.2 Funding for proposals for Science-led contestable funding may be allocated from any of the following output expenses:
(a) Biological Industries Research;
(b) High Value Manufacturing and Services Research;
(c) Energy and Minerals Research;
(d) Environmental Research;
(e) Hazards and Infrastructure Research; and
(f) Health and Society Research (except that funding that is administered by the Health Research Council may not be allocated to such proposals).
6.3 The overall mix of investments made in respect of each output expense must be taken into account, so that the mix of investments will contribute to the delivery of the outcomes for that output expense sought in the relevant Plan, and that the mix of investments will contribute to the objectives of the Vision Matauranga theme.
7. Revocation of previous notice
This notice supersedes and revokes the notice entitled "Science-led contestable funding" published on pages 196 and
197 of the Establishment of Innovation Board and Science Board and Other Related Notices in the Supplement to the
New Zealand Gazette, 31 January 2011, No. 9, page 177.
Dated at Wellington this 9th day of December 2011.
HON DR WAYNE MAPP, Minister of Science and Innovation.
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Schedule 1
Smart Ideas Investment Mechanism
1. Policy objective
1.1 Smart Ideas is a contest of ideas, designed to drive innovation and an entrepreneurial culture in the national research portfolio. Supporting novel ideas and emerging research capability is intended to continually challenge and refresh the national science portfolio.
1.2 The objective of Smart Ideas is to:
(a) support basic discovery and/or applied research into promising ideas in priority areas; and
(b) provide early guidance to researchers from key end-users, such as service providers, entrepreneurs or commercialisation on positioning research for successful application and/or commercialisation; and
(c) build and support entrepreneurial capability, by providing support to early career researchers.
1.3 Smart Ideas funding is available in two phases; a research phase ("Phase 1") and an application phase ("Phase 2").
The objectives of each phase are as follows:
(a) The objective of Phase 1 is investigative, in that it aims to use an innovative approach to develop new knowledge that will solve a problem, fulfil a need, or prove a hypothesis; and
(b) the objective of Phase 2 is to focus the research on achieving application or market potential.
2. Assessment criteria
Proposals for Smart Ideas funding that meet the eligibility criteria for Science-led contestable funding must be assessed against the following assessment criteria, and each assessment criteria must be weighted as set out below:
Assessment criteria for proposals for Smart Ideas Phase 1 Funding
Benefits to New Zealand Risk Management or Success Factors
Outcome benefits to New Zealand
Key Question: Assuming the project is successful, what is the potential contribution it will make?
Proposals must be assessed on:
- Identification and assessment of the opportunity or need in the New Zealand context Implementation Pathway
Key Question: What is the proposed implementation pathway for the project?
Proposals must be assessed on:
- Identification of appropriate implementation pathway
Weighting 10% Weighting 15%
Research, science and technology benefits to New Zealand
Key Question: Is the idea novel, innovative and the science of high quality?
Proposals must be assessed on:
- Novelty of idea
- Research plan and justification for approach Ability to deliver research, science and technology results (outputs)
Key Question: What is the likelihood the research outputs will be achieved?
Proposals must be assessed on:
- Plan for mitigation of technical challenges in the research
- Research experience commensurate with career stage and access to any additional key expertise and capabilities required for the research
Weighting 50% Weighting 25%
Assessment Criteria for Smart Ideas Phase 2 Funding
Benefits to New Zealand Risk Management or Success Factors
Outcome benefits to New Zealand
Key Question: Assuming this project is successful, what is the potential contribution it will make?
Proposals must be assessed on:
- Tangible benefits to New Zealand and clear user engagement Implementation Pathway
Key Question: What is the proposed implementation pathway for the idea?
Proposals must be assessed on:
- Plan for delivery of benefits, including mitigation of barriers to implementation
- Expert advice and mentoring
Weighting 25% Weighting 25%
Research, science and technology benefits to New Zealand
Key Question: Is the idea novel, innovative and the research of high quality?
Proposals must be assessed on:
- Advancement of knowledge frontiers
- Project plan and critical steps Ability to deliver research, science and technology results (outputs)
Key Question: What is the likelihood the research outputs will be achieved?
Proposals must be assessed on:
- Research experience commensurate with career stage
- Project management and support
Weighting 30% Weighting 20%
3. Additional criteria
When assessing proposals and allocating Smart Ideas funding, the following additional criteria must be taken into account:
(a) Phase 1 funding should be provided as small grants, typically between $200,000 and $500,000 per year for two years;
(b) the size and duration of Phase 2 funding grants should be appropriate for the needs of each project; and
(c) Phase 1 and Phase 2 funding should be provided on the conditions that during the project the applicant must:
(i) receive advice or mentoring from an entrepreneur or similar commercialisation specialist to aid commercial positioning, or from an end-user or service provider who could potentially apply the research results; and
(ii) undertake or source some market analysis or user-needs analysis to aid positioning of the research project.
Schedule 2
Targeted Research Investment Mechanism
1. Policy objective
1.1 Targeted Research supports purpose driven research, science and technology aligned with national priorities that generate economic, environmental or social benefits for New Zealand. To increase the impact of the national science portfolio, knowledge transfer outputs and activities are an important part of the research programme.
1.2 Targeted Research addresses the strategic needs, challenges and opportunities identified in Sector Investment Plans and the corresponding research questions identified in Requests for Proposals.
2. Assessment criteria
Proposals for Targeted Research funding that meet the eligibility criteria for Science-led contestable funding must be assessed against the following assessment criteria, which are all weighted equally:
Benefits to New Zealand
Risk Management or Success Factors
Outcome benefits to New Zealand
Key Question: Assuming this project is successful, what is the potential contribution it will make to the achievement of outcomes?
Proposals must be assessed on:
- Assessment of the opportunity or need in the
New Zealand context
- Description of the potential contribution to outcomes
- Clarification of why the research is beyond "business as usual" Implementation Pathway
Key Question: What is the likelihood the team will successfully have the research implemented?
Proposals must be assessed on:
- Implementation plan, including mitigation of barriers to implementation
- Quality engagement with users, including the provision of co-funding if required
Research, science and technology benefits to New Zealand
Key Question: Is the research of high quality and will it generate new knowledge that can be applied to benefit
New Zealand?
Proposals must be assessed on:
- Advancement of knowledge frontiers
- Project Plan Ability to deliver research, science and technology results (outputs)
Key Question: What is the likelihood the team will achieve their proposed research outputs?
Proposals must be assessed on:
- RS&T track record of teams including appropriate collaborators
- Project management and support
- Plan for mitigation of technical challenges in the research
Schedule 3
Enabling Technologies Investment Mechanism
1. Policy objective
1.1 Enabling Technologies supports purpose driven research, science and technology and related activities aligned with national priorities that generate economic, environmental or social benefits for New Zealand.
1.2 Enabling Technologies supports generic technologies that potentially have multiple applications and many connections across science and business. It also funds knowledge transfer and co-ordination activities linked to the research.
1.3 Enabling Technologies funding is designed to accelerate the development of "enabling technology platforms" and provide a core of expertise, knowledge and relevant infrastructure. An enabling technology platform is a critical mass of capabilities and equipment that is responsive to industry needs and that provide the means to enhance the performance
and capabilities of the users.
1.4 Enabling Technologies will:
(a) build on existing capability in the RS&T system so there are not long start-up periods before impacts begin to accrue; and
(b) be closely aligned or partnered with users including industry so that pathways to development of tangible outcomes of benefit to New Zealand are incorporated from the outset; and
(c) involve an integrated and multidisciplinary mix of "fit-for-purpose" RS&T that includes the expertise, capabilities and infrastructure required to deliver results (eg encompassing all stages of research from basic-targeted to applied); and
(d) include, if appropriate, strong international links so there is both rapid absorption of relevant and applicable overseas knowledge and expansion of New Zealand market potential, while ensuring safeguards for New Zealand’s intellectual property.
2. Assessment criteria
Proposals for Enabling Technologies funding that meet the eligibility criteria for Science-led contestable funding must be assessed against the following assessment criteria, which are all weighted equally:


Benefits to New Zealand
Risk Management or Success Factors
Outcome benefits to New Zealand
Key Question: Assuming this project is successful, how will it provide outcome benefits to New Zealand?
Proposals must be assessed on:
- Assessment of the potential for multiple opportunities arising from the enabling technology platform
- Description of the potential contribution to outcomes of benefit to New Zealand
- Clarification of why the research is beyond "business as usual" Implementation Pathway
Key Question: What is the likelihood the team will successfully have the research implemented through multiple channels?
Proposals must be assessed on:
- Implementation plan, including:
- appropriate timelines to delivery
- plans to overcome any barriers to adoption
- Quality of existing partnerships and scope of engagement across multiple users, including the provision of co-funding if required
Research, science and technology benefits to New Zealand
Key Question: Is the research of high quality and will generate an enabling technology platform that can be applied to benefit New Zealand?
Proposals must be assessed on:
- Advancement of knowledge frontiers
- Project plan
- Critical mass/capability development and maintenance Ability to deliver research, science and technology results (outputs)
Key Question: What is the likelihood the team will achieve their proposed research outputs?
Proposals must be assessed on:
- RS&T track record of team
- Inclusion of appropriate national and international collaborations
- Project management and support
- Technical challenges of developing and sustaining the platform
3. Additional criteria
When assessing proposals and allocating Enabling Technologies funding, the following additional criteria must be taken
into account:
(a) Funding must be of medium to large scale value, and typically up to $1.5 to $2.5 million per annum for up to
six years.
(b) Funding may be provided for lower value "seeding" development grants of typically up to $250,000 to assist
a research team to develop engagement with a sector to realise the commercial potential of their research.