Questions and Answers from the Endeavour Fund 2023 Investment Round Roadshows (October 2022)
Assessors and Assessment
Q1: How does the identification of Conflicts of Interest influence the selection of assessors?
A: If an applicant identifies in their application that there is a Conflict of Interest with a particular assessor, then we do not assign that assessor to review the application. Please identify any Conflicts of Interest in your proposal. Please do keep in mind that the College of Assessors is a limited pool; we ask that you consider carefully and refrain from listing entire institutions as a conflict, as this greatly limits our ability to find well-aligned assessors for your proposal.
Q2: Could you clarify what the summary paragraph completed at registration is used for? Do potential assessors see the proposal summary in SI registrations?
A: The Assessors do not see the proposal summary. The information is used by MBIE to help identify suitable assessors (together with the ANZSRC codes and keywords). The information is also used to help identify “competing” proposals (i.e., proposals in very similar areas). Where proposals may be competing, we need to more strongly manage conflicts of interest. For example, it is important that any team members on a particular proposal who are members of the College of Assessors are not assigned to assess what may be a competitor’s proposal.
Q3: At Smart Ideas Concept stage are the same assessors used at both Concept and Full proposal? How many assessors are used at each stage?
A: When aligning assessors for Smart Ideas Full proposals, we try to use those individuals that assessed at Concept stage. Reasons why this would differ include but are not limited to: the assessor who assessed at Concept stage is no longer available; the assessor chooses to decline the assessment; and/or a change in the assessor’s circumstances now mean they are conflicted with the application. In 2023, three assessors will be used for Smart Ideas Concepts. Four assessors will be used for Smart Ideas Full, and Research Programmes (both Excellence and Impact).
Q4: In looking at the College of Assessors, is it possible to know if they will be assessing Smart Ideas and/or Research Programmes, and their alignment with the Protect and Add Value and/or Transform categories?
A: The assessors in the College are contracted for the individual assessment phases (Smart Ideas Concepts, Smart Ideas Full Proposal Excellence, Smart Ideas Full Proposal Impact, Research Programmes Excellence and Research Programmes Impact). Assessors can (and do) assess both Smart Ideas and Research Programmes. Within Research Programmes, the Impact assessors are generally either Protect and Add Value or Transform, although it is possible that they can do both. We also have specialist Vision Mātauranga assessors who can span many assessment phases. Due to the complexity of the above, we don’t categorise our assessors in the information available on the website.
Q5: Can a Smart Ideas proposal be written to target specific impact/opportunities already funded by current research programs, provided there is a distinct difference in the scientific excellence and the risk of the proposed concept?
A: Yes. But we do check duplication of activity across the portfolio, so we expect you to demonstrate to assessors that there is a clear distinction between the research that the idea originated from and the submitted proposal. Please do refer to the original project and be clear how the proposal is new and original.
Q6: Does the Science Board have a target percentage for distribution across SEOs?
A: There are two levels of SEO code distribution that the Science Board uses to guide its decision making. There are the broad Research Outcome Portfolio Targets listed in the Investment Plan: Economic (70%), Environmental (25%) and Societal (5%). However, they are not “hard” targets. They are used to help ensure a high-level balance of investment across the entire fund. The Science Board also uses SEO codes at a lower level in its decision making. The distribution of investment across the SEO codes is used to indicate which areas may be of potential interest to the Science Board. The Science Board’s decision will be based on the mix of proposals in that particular year, both in terms of topic area and quality. Note that a proposal submitted into an area of high concentration will be subject to greater scrutiny by the Science Board.
Q7: What was the 2022 breakdown across the Economic, Environmental and Societal SEO Portfolio targets?
A: In 2022, the breakdown was 71.9% Economic, 18.5% Environmental, 9.1% Societal and 0.06% Other.
Q8: Is it possible to submit both an academic CV and a Narrative CV?
A: No. In 2023 you will need to choose between the RS&T CV and the Narrative CV and submit only one.
Q9: Can you confirm that any words in an image that is a table are to be counted as part of the word limit for that section, but the word limit does not include words in other types of images (however these words should be kept to a minimum)?
A: Correct. We acknowledge that words are often necessary in images, and provided they are used sparingly, these do not need to be accounted for in the word count. We also acknowledge that for aesthetic reasons, applicants would like to upload tables as images. However, we do not consider tables to be an image, hence the requirement for those words to be accounted for in the word count.
Q10: Are there any guidelines around the use of keywords?
A: We ask that applicants carefully consider the keywords they select. We also note that applicants should consider the distinction between a “keyword” and a short sentence and ask applicants to refrain from using keywords that blur the line between “word” and “descriptive sentence.”
Q11: We are having an issue identifying an appropriate Field of Research code for a prospective Smart Idea. What should we do?
A: We recommend that you choose the codes as best you can. If you are unable to find enough codes to suit the specific area, then make the science area as clear as possible in the proposal summary and keywords.
Q12: Could you provide a definition of a New Zealand-based Research Organisation (more specifically, the 'Research Organisation' part)?
A: MBIE defines a research organisation as an organisation that has sufficient internal capability for carrying out research, science or technology-related activities. Any New Zealand-based organisation that has the capability to undertake research may be eligible to apply. MBIE is unable to advise whether any particular organisation is eligible, noting that the Science Board will determine eligibility based on the above definition. It could be useful for you to check the following link to gauge the type and range of organisations funded
Q13: Can you confirm that non-profit associations and individuals are able to apply for Smart Ideas and Research Programmes? Can the Science Leader be from an institution that isn’t leading the bid?
A: Please see the eligibility criteria for the Endeavour 2023 Gazette Notice, which includes, among other points: “For proposals to be eligible under the Endeavour Fund, they must: a. be made by a New Zealand-based Research Organisation or a New Zealand-based legal entity representing a New Zealand-based Research Organisation.” A Research Organisation is an organisation that has sufficient internal capability for carrying out research, science or technology, or related activities. A Science Leader can be from an institution that is not leading the bid.