Catalyst: Strategic – Investment in health-related A.I. research in partnership with Soul Machines

MBIE will shortly be inviting proposals under Catalyst: Strategic for internationally connected research projects that explore the potential application of Soul Machines’ Digital People™ Human OS platform in an area of healthcare research.

A Call for Proposals for this investment will be published in early December 2021, with applications opening in early January 2022.

MBIE, in partnership with Soul Machines, is pleased to announce an upcoming Catalyst Strategic investment in a set of internationally connected research projects that explore the application of A.I. in health research.

MBIE will fund up to 3 research projects with up to $2 million (GST excluded) each over 3 years from Catalyst Strategic (up to $6 million in total across the investment), and Soul Machines will provide the successful research teams with access to its ‘Digital People’ A.I. Product Environment for the duration of the projects.

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About the programme

A.I. has the potential to revolutionise health systems. Digital health technologies can enable better access to personalised care, encourage healthier behaviour in individuals, and enable remote health support, monitoring, detection, and delivery care at home, improving quality of life for patients and providing significant cost savings to the public health system.

Soul Machines is a world leading New Zealand A.I. company, whose Human OS platform aims to enable researchers and international organisations to leverage the full capabilities of human and machine collaboration. Soul Machines’ Platform features a patented Digital Brain that drives its Autonomous Animation, creating lifelike and dynamically interactive experiences.

Learn more about Soul Machines on their website(external link)

We expect this investment to contribute to the development of New Zealand’s health research and innovation system, growing our international reputation for the application of A.I. in health research. This call will be open to New Zealand research organisations.

3 priority areas have been established for this investment:

  • Mental Health – Including depression, anxiety, and perinatal/postnatal mental health
  • Metabolic Disease – Including diabetes/pre-diabetes and heart disease
  • Medical Triage – Including diagnostics and remote triaging

Proposed projects must also demonstrate the potential to develop enduring science and innovation collaboration partnerships with world-class counterparts. Successful applications will have identified at least 1 world-class international research partner. The Call for Proposals document will identify priority research partner countries for this investment.

Please note that applications outside the above priority areas and with other international research partners will be accepted and may be considered for funding if they demonstrate high levels of excellence, strong international connections, and have significant potential to positively impact New Zealand’s health research sector.

Contact us

You are welcome to contact MBIE at if you have any questions about eligibility or the Call for Proposals more generally.

Last updated: 23 November 2021