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New Zealand government investing NZ$248 million over 5 years in 68 new science research projects

The New Zealand government has awarded funding of NZ$248 million, to be invested over the next five years to 68 new science research projects that are expected to benefit New Zealand environmentally, economically, and socially.

The Science and Innovation Minister, Paul Goldsmith, announced that the amount has been invested through the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) 2017 Endeavour Fund, which received an NZ$81.9 million funding boost over four years in Budget 2017.

Minister Goldsmith said, “The Endeavour Fund is an important tool in the Government’s ten-year vision for a highly dynamic New Zealand science system. The Fund looks for transformative initiatives that propose excellent research and have strong potential to improve a range of outcomes for New Zealand, such as marine ecosystems and hybrid energy.”

The funding from the Endeavour Fund is available through two mechanisms: Smart ideas and Research programmes.

Smart Ideas are innovative research projects that have a high potential to benefit New Zealand, wherein applicants can request between $0.4 million to $1 million over the term of the two to three-year contract. As part of the 2017 Endeavour Fund round, up to NZ$15 million per year in total will be invested in 41 projects under the ‘Smart Ideas’ initiative over the next three years.

Research Programmes support ambitious, well-defined research ideas, which have high potential to positively transform areas of future value, growth or critical need to New Zealand. Applicants can request over NZ$0.5 million per year for a term of three to five years. Up to NZ$43 million per year in total will be invested in 27 Research Programmes over the next five years.

(A detailed summary of the successful research projects is available here.)

Successful Smart Ideas proposals include automated and high throughput mapping and environment friendly, laser-treatment control of weeds (AgResearch Limited); Electro spun Bio printing Technology in the Production of Complex Collagen Tissues (Massey University); Machine learning for weather analysis and forecasting (MetOcean Solutions Limited); Reconstructing real world lights and reflectance models for Augmented and Mixed Reality (The Research Trust of Victoria University of Wellington); and Biologically based visual sensors for autonomous flight control and mobile robotics (University of Waikato).

Research Programmes include Developing hybrid-electric aircraft (The Research Trust of Victoria University of Wellington); Fast, Efficient and Tailored Pulsed Laser Micromachining and Additive Manufacturing (Unversity of Auckland); Exploring new technologies to improve weather forecasting (MetOcean Solutions Limited); and Developing new charging technology for electric vehicles while parked or moving (University of Auckland).

The successful proposals were selected by the Science Board on 30 August, an independent statutory Board, following a review by independent experts. The new research contracts will begin on October 1, 2017.

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