Catalyst: Strategic – New Zealand-Singapore Data Science Research Programme

MBIE is committing up to $12 million to support approximately four joint Data Science research projects with Singapore.

Under the Government-wide New Zealand-Singapore Enhanced Partnership, the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) is establishing a collaborative data science research programme with Singapore. New Zealand applicants are able to apply for up to $3 million over three years.

This new research programme will complement the recent Strategic Science Investment Fund investment in four domestic data science research programmes.  The two investments aim to advance the development of a dynamic and world class data science capability for New Zealand through multidisciplinary, use-inspired data science research programmes that address big challenges for the economy, environment and society.

The Data Science Research Programme

This Call for Proposals (“the Call”) is a bilateral investment funded by MBIE and the Singapore Data Science Consortium (SDSC), and is open to proposals that involve at least one New Zealand-based Principal Investigator (PI) and one Singapore-based PI.

The New Zealand project team may apply for up to NZ$3 million (excluding GST) of funding over three years. Equivalent Singapore participation will be funded by Singapore, through this jointly developed single application process.

The successful proposals will:

  • lead to the creation of new and world-leading knowledge in Data Science
  • advance the development of a dynamic and world class Data Science capability for both countries that addresses major challenges for the economy, environment and society
  • support and encourage the development and exchange of scientific strengths and capabilities within each country and to allow each country to benefit from each other’s global connections to cutting edge science
  • build successful collaboration models that ensure maximum synergy in research development across teams
  • identify mechanisms aimed at transfer of knowledge to a wide range of users across New Zealand.

More information on the Call, including the investment priority areas, can be found in the Call for Proposals:

Who can apply?

For New Zealand applicants, applications are open to both public and private New Zealand-based research organisations. However, proposals will be assessed against their public benefits and private organisations should clearly indicate how their proposal will benefit New Zealand.

For Singapore applicants, applications are open to Singapore-based public sector research performers, such as the Institutes of Higher Learning (including universities and polytechnics), A*STAR Research Institutes, and non-defence related public sector agencies (e.g. Ministries and Statutory Boards).

Investment focus areas

Each proposed project must centre on a fundamental technical problem or challenge and have a novel technical application in Data Science. This encompasses:

  • 3D spatio-temporal sensing of environment.  We will prioritise projects with an arboreal focus in both rural and urban settings.
  • We will prioritise projects covering mental health, dementia and ageing-related conditions.
  • Natural language processing.  We will prioritise projects centred on vernacular languages, and indigenous knowledge.

Exceptional proposals that involve other areas of mutual interest to both Singapore and New Zealand will also be considered. Examples of these are included in the workshop summaries.

The investment focus was developed from a joint New Zealand Singapore workshop, which identified potential areas and methods of Data Science collaboration between our two countries. For more information on the workshops and the investment focus areas, please utilise the links below:

The application and assessment process

  1. New Zealand and Singapore applicants must jointly develop a single proposal that will be submitted through MBIE’s Investment Management System(external link) (IMS).
  2. Registration is compulsory and includes the submission of a proposal outline to enable MBIE and SDSC to identify suitable assessors.
  3. New Zealand and Singapore applicants collectively develop their full proposal, which the New Zealand applicants submit through IMS.
  4. MBIE and SDSC will jointly assess the proposals and anticipate funding approximately four Data Science research projects. 

Important dates

31 January 2020 Call for Proposals published
Early February IMS Portal opens
20 February 2020 Registrations close
Note: registrations are mandatory for this investment
16 March 2020 Closing date for proposals
March - April 2020 Proposals assessed
May/June 2020 Results released to applicants
June/July 2020 Projects expected to begin

Essential documents

Contact us

For more information, email

Last updated: 13 February 2020