Unlocking Curious Minds contestable fund

The Unlocking Curious Minds contestable fund supports the objective of He Whenua Hihiri I Te Mahara - A Nation of Curious Minds by encouraging and enabling New Zealanders with fewer opportunities to better engage, experience and connect with science and technology.

We have extended the 2022 UCM funding application submission period for registered applicants in response to the impact that the current COVID-19 Alert Level 4 is having on people’s lives and the ability to complete proposals.

For applicants who have already registered their funding application in our Information Management System, you now have until 12 noon, Tuesday 21 September 2021 to complete and submit your application. Other key dates, as listed in the Call for Proposals, have also been extended.  The revised timeline is available on the Application and assessment information page.

Application and assessment information for the Unlocking Curious Minds contestable fund

Curious Minds banner. Science and technology in Aotearoa New Zealand starts with curiosity.

The Fund aims to encourage quality projects that reach and inspire a broad base of New Zealanders through initiatives that bring science and technology to audiences that have less opportunity to learn about and to engage with science and technology.

The Fund will support projects that:

  • take place in one or more New Zealand regions.
  • reach audiences in more than one location across a region(s).
  • provide one or more new science and technology engagement activities.

New Zealand's national strategic plan for science and society [PDF, 1.2 MB](external link)(external link) - A Nation of Curious Minds He Whenua Hihiri i te Mahara

The funding available

Approximately $1.6 million (excluding GST) is available for the Fund’s 2022 investment round to fund successful projects of up to an 11 month period.  The funding available per project is between $50,000 (minimum) and $150,000 (maximum).

Full details on fundable activities, the eligibility criteria, the application process, and the assessment criteria against which eligible applications will be assessed are detailed in the Call for Proposals.

Unlocking Curious Minds contestable fund 2022  Investment Round Call for Proposals [PDF, 2.8 MB]

Funding decisions

Our General Manager of the Science System Investment and Performance Branch in the Labour, Science and Enterprise Group, MBIE will make the final investment decisions on which proposals will be funded.

We will notify applicants of the funding decisions and publish the decisions on our website.

Contact us

For more information, email curiousminds@mbie.govt.nz.

In this section

Application and assessment information

How to apply for funding from the Unlocking Curious Minds contestable fund and how applications are assessed.

2022 Funding Round Assessors

Independent Assessors appointed by MBIE will assess eligible 2022 Unlocking Curious Minds Contestable Fund proposals against the assessment criteria set out in the 2022 Call for Proposals.

Successful 2020 Unlocking Curious Minds proposals

Through the 2020 funding round, the Unlocking Curious Minds contestable fund is supporting 31 projects aimed at engaging more New Zealanders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Last updated: 07 September 2021