COVID-19 Innovation Acceleration Fund

Funding applications for the COVID-19 Innovation Acceleration Fund close 18 June 2020, 12 noon. The last date for:

  • Expressions of Interests is 11 June 2020, 12 noon
  • (if invited) Funding applications is 18 June 2020, 12 noon.

Expressions of Interest and Funding applications received after these dates will not be accepted.

The COVID-19 Innovation Acceleration Fund (the Fund) aims to:

  • accelerate the operational deployment of innovative solutions in order to support responses to COVID-19, and alleviate the direct impacts of the virus threat, and
  • provide rapid short-term support to New Zealand based entities to develop and more quickly deploy a range of new products, processes, or services (‘products’).

Funding applications for the COVID-19 Innovation Acceleration Fund close 18 June 2020, 12 noon.

The funding available

The initial size of the Fund is $25 million (excluding GST). As a guide, a minimum proposal size is expected to be $50,000 (excluding GST).

The scope of the Fund

Funding is expected to be for products where the bulk of research required has already been undertaken, and support is needed to accelerate the delivery of products into operational environments more quickly than would happen otherwise.

This includes the costs of:

  • research and development
  • product development
  • prototyping
  • tooling up and pre-production activities.

Products must be intended to have a direct impact and be based on research. ‘Direct impact’ means those impacts that are immediately and directly attributable to addressing COVID-19 in the short (within 6 months) to medium term (within 18 months). As examples, the Fund is likely to support:

  • medical products for detection, diagnosis, or treatment
  • clinical trials if they will be completed within the medium term
  • products for containment or prevention
  • products to enable increased flows of people, goods or services that would otherwise be slowed or stopped due to COVID-19 or related response measures.

Funding is expected to be for development of new products, usually meaning new to the world. However, funding could support development of products which are already available globally if a strong case is made regarding availability, lower cost, speed of deployment, or adaptation needed to the product in order to deliver significantly greater impact than would otherwise occur. Commercial and business development/ marketing activities are not included.

The fund is particularly keen to accept applications that are focused around the social and wellbeing impacts of COVID-19.

What is out of scope?

In general, the Fund will not support proposals:

  • where the function which the proposal intends to support is undertaken by central Government departments, or the intended customer or user is a central Government department, AND
  • work is already underway on such functions such that the work outlined in the proposal may be redundant.

Out of scope are activities which are:

  • not related to innovation and not based on research
  • likely to have only a marginal impact on responding to COVID-19 in the short to medium term
  • manufacturing, production, or ongoing deployment of the product (other than during the prototyping and test phase)
  • an enhancement of an existing product that shows little or no evidence of having had additional R&D undertaken in order to specifically respond to the challenges of COVID-19
  • market research, marketing, advertising and sales
  • losses that might result if an entity internally redeploys its resources from an existing activity to one supported by the Fund
  • bonuses, performance payments, or other ex gratia rewards
  • costs incurred prior to the start date of our contract.

The fund may reject applications where a sufficient level of high-quality activity has already been supported.  The fund is intended to support a range of different technologies and responses to COVID-19. As such, decisions will take into account the spread of funding across different types of project.

The fund is now less likely to support applications relating to ventilator-type products, data modelling that is intended to be undertaken at a national scale, and proposals for population-level contact tracing technology or apps as several projects are already being funded in these areas.

We will continue to update this guidance as we become aware of specific examples of such functions.

Who can apply

Any New Zealand legal entity with research and development or innovation staff working in New Zealand. Further details on the eligibility criteria, can be found in the fact sheet.

The general terms and conditions that will apply to the provision of funding agreed between us and the contracting organisation can be found in the CIAF funding agreement template.

The application process

To express your interest email with a brief project summary that outlines a discrete piece of work you are requesting funding for.

MBIE may consult with other government agencies and will provide advice as to whether the project is sufficiently relevant to the Fund. If invited to apply, applications are submitted in our Investment Management System (IMS).

Funding applications for the COVID-19 Innovation Acceleration Fund close 18 June 2020, 12 noon. The last date for:

  • Expressions of Interests is 11 June 2020, 12 noon
  • (if invited) Funding applications is 18 June 2020, 12 noon.

Expressions of Interest and Funding applications received after these dates will not be accepted.

How decisions will be made

MBIE will perform an initial triage of proposals received and aims to provide applicants with rapid feedback about the proposal. In some instances, MBIE may request additional information on the proposal. Please be aware that not all projects will be supported.  Further details on the indicative assessment criteria, can be found in the fact sheet.

MBIE may obtain expert assessment of any proposal at its discretion, from staff of relevant government agencies or external reviewers who have signed a confidentiality agreement.

Decisions will be made by the Minister of Research, Science and Innovation. MBIE will provide the Minister with recommendations regarding proposals received, which may include due diligence such as consideration of cost effectiveness. Special conditions may be attached to funding approval.

MBIE may amend, suspend, cancel or re-issue all or any part of the Fund.

Fund recipients



Amount funded (GST exclusive)

AgResearch Light sterilisation (contact-surface or airborne) of Coronaviruses using UV-C and Blue Light LED, in combination $300,000
Air-guard Ltd (T/A Ao Air) Adapting, validating & commercialisation of next generation respiratory protection to virus protection for healthcare workers $500,000
AUT Ventures Ltd Autogenous Humidifier for Critical Care $169,000
Avalia Immunotherapies Limited Addressing security of supply for a SARS-CoV-2 prophylactic vaccine for New Zealanders, now and in the future $100,000See note below
Core Schedule Disaster contingency rostering for medical staff $172,000
Covid19 Vaccine Corporation Limited Create and test in humans a COVID19 vaccine based on microbead display technology $488,000* See note below
Digital Sensing Ltd  Mass-production of point-of-care diagnostics for COVID19 and blood based biomarkers – Phase 1: Testing the biology $110,000
Digital Sensing Ltd Mass-production of Point-of-Care Diagnostics for COVID19 and Blood Based Biomarkers - Phase 2 and 3 $810,000
Douglas Pharmaceuticals Limited To evaluate whether hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) reduces the risk to frontline healthcare workers (HCW) of acquiring SARS-CoV-2 infection $600,000
Dyno Ltd Sanitising conveyor for dispatching and receiving large throughput of packages, parcels and goods $85,000
Elbaware Haptic technology to reduce face-touching and risk of COVID-19 transmission $200,000
ES Plastics Ltd Mechanical ventilator development ready for manufacture of 100 units per day $457,000
Healthcare Applications Ltd Building upon current Emergency Q platform to empower essential workers and community, digitise COVID testing centre bookings, and reduce infection risk to St John frontline staff $676,000
Inhibit Coatings Ltd Long life antiviral and antimicrobial coatings to prevent transmission from touch surfaces in high-risk environments $350,000
Institute of Environmental Science and Research Limited (ESR) SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater: Risks to public health and opportunities for the surveillance of COVID-19 $1,658,201
Kode Biotech Ltd Kode technology SARS-CoV-2 antibody screening diagnostic (CoV2-kodecytes) $167,000
Lanaco Building an indigenous NZ-made filter media supply chain to guarantee current and future PPE supply $500,000
Lincoln Agritech Deconstructed wool PPE masks and filtration components for local supply chain, high efficiency virus protection $290,000
Massey University Updating the psychosocial response and recovery framework for Aotearoa New Zealand in a COVID-19 context $126,000
Massey University Dipstick assay for direct detection of CoVID-19 (antigen) using novel antibodies and biological nanorods $280,321
NZ Winegrowers Research Centre Ltd (T/A Bragato Research Institute) Efficient ethanol-based hand sanitizer production from wine industry grape marc waste $84,700
Orion Health National algorithm management solution for COVID-19 $828,000
Pictor Ltd Development of a multiplex immunoassay for detection of COVID-19 infection in less than an hour. $500,000
Revolution Fibres Concurrent Scale-up and Development of Nano-fibre membranes suitable for N95 and N97 face mask manufacture $900,000
Rhondium Ltd Anti-Viral Aerosol Protection System for Dental and Medical Personnel $425,000
Safer City Group Ltd (T/A Safercities) COVID 19 SaferCities modules (& standalone applications) to assist Police with ‘movement tracking’ and ‘safer enforcement’ of COIVID19 breaches $97,390
SaferMe Limited Business focused COVID-19 management solutions $396,000
Sagen Software Ltd Using geofence technology & analytics to manage COVID-19 on Construction Sites $549,000
Sonasafe 20/20 Limited Enhancement of Sonasafe Proximity Monitoring to support people flow and COVID-19 tracking $274,900
Spritely Ltd Covid-19 Automated Rapid Response Product. Can comprehensive daily screening, help retirement villages contain Covid-19 outbreaks?  $57,600
Sportsground Ltd Community sport COVID-19 management solution $205,400
The Cacophony Project Ltd Te Kahu Ora "The cloak of health" - the FeverScreen solution utilises thermal cameras to screen for individuals with a fever in a non-contact, non-invasive way $914,500
Trinity Bioactives Ltd Development of novel lateral flow devices for the rapid detection of Coronavirus-19 (COVID-19) Infection $650,000
Ubiquitome Limited Enabling and maintaining a COVID-19 free New Zealand with rapidly deployable, community-level SARS-COV2 testing $528,927
University of Auckland An innovative remote body temperature monitoring solution to reduce the spread of COVID-19 $264,124
University of Auckland Development, assessment and roll-out of antibody-based assays for COVID-19 $461,987
University of Auckland Improving New Zealand's epidemic model to inform policy and decision-making for our shared futures $1,500,000
University of Auckland Low cost non-invasive lung imaging system for continuous patient monitoring during mechanical ventilation $495,000
University of Auckland SARS-CoV-2 disinfection for reuse of personal protective equipment (PPE) $1,312,524
University of Canterbury Safely and effectively doubling ventilator capacity – a rapid, and highly necessary technology solution to save multiple lives $150,352
University of Otago Genomic epidemiology and evolution of COVID-19 in New Zealand $600,000
University of Otago Novel COVID19 and antibody assays $968,973
Victoria Link Limited (T/A Wellington UniVentures) Tackling New Zealand's need for rapid access to anti-viral medication for the treatment of COVID-19 $920,726

This table will be updated as further proposals are approved for funding.

Note: Bridging funding to let work commence until a national vaccine strategy is in place.

Last updated: 07 July 2020