Endeavour Fund Investment Plan 2025-2027: Transforming New Zealand’s future

Whakataki | Introduction

Welcome to the Endeavour Fund Investment Plan (the Plan). The Plan is about investing in New Zealand science, technology, and innovation to make a real difference, across a range of economic, environmental, and societal objectives.

The Plan covers the 2025, 2026, and 2027 annual Endeavour Fund investment rounds.

The Endeavour Fund (the Fund) supports researchers to tackle big challenges head-on. The Fund supports excellent research that pushes boundaries and deliver results to positively transform New Zealand’s economy, environment, and society. The Fund uses an open, contestable mechanism to select excellent research proposals that will support groundbreaking research and provide the highest potential impacts to drive positive change across New Zealand. 

The Science Board will make funding decisions and allocate funds as set out in the Gazette Notice (published annually) for each Endeavour investment round. The funding decisions will consider the investment signals and mix of portfolio targets set out in the Plan.

The Plan should be read together with the:

Gazette Notice for the relevant Endeavour Fund round (which sets out the assessment criteria and the amount of funding available).

Annual Call for Proposals (which includes funding application and submission guidelines for Smart Ideas and Research Programmes).

See the Endeavour Fund’s webpages for links to this information.

Endeavour Fund

Our Science Board

Te Tukanga Tuku Pūtea o Endeavour | The Endeavour funding process

Proposals submitted to the Fund are assessed for their excellence and potential impact, and then for their alignment with the Investment Signals in this Plan.

The Gazette Notice sets out the criteria used to make these assessments, and the Science Board’s approach to decision-making.

Ngā āhuatanga pūtea e wātea ana | The funding mechanisms available

Research organisations can apply for funding from 2 mechanisms: Smart Ideas or Research Programmes.

Smart Ideas provide for smaller investments intended to:

  • catalyse and rapidly test promising, innovative research ideas with high potential for benefit to New Zealand
  • refresh and provide diversity in the science portfolio.

Research Programmes provide for larger investments intended to:

  • support ambitious, excellent and well-defined research ideas
  • have credible and high potential to positively transform New Zealand’s future in areas of future value, growth or critical need as set out in the Investment Signals.

He aha ngā pūtea kei te wātea? What funding is available?

The Gazette Notice sets out the value and duration of funding available under Smart Ideas and Research Programmes. The Gazette Notice sets out the Minister’s expectations on how the Science Board makes decisions. This includes the expectation that the Science Board aims to fund a minimum number of proposals for both Smart Ideas and Research Programmes.

He Wawata Mātauranga | Vision Mātauranga

The Vision Mātauranga Policy (Vision Mātauranga) aims to create a better future for all New Zealanders through the innovative potential of Māori knowledge, resources, and people. Vision Mātauranga applies across, and is integrated within, all MBIE science investment mechanisms.

Where applicable, proposals must consider the relevancy of the Vision Mātauranga Policy. We expect that the Vision Mātauranga Policy will not be relevant to all proposals. Proposals that give effect to the Policy should demonstrate the relevance and use of a fit-for-purpose approach. 

Ngā tohu haumi mō te 2025 ki te 2027 | Investment signals for 2025 to 2027

The Fund is an open, contestable fund that supports excellent science in a wide range of impact areas. 

It supports research, science or technology, or related activities that have high potential to positively transform New Zealand’s economic, environmental, and societal outcomes, give effect to the Vision Mātauranga policy where applicable, and drive an increasing focus on:

  • excellent research
  • the potential for impact in areas of future value, growth or critical need for New Zealand.

The Science Board will also look for opportunities to fund proposals that:

  • enable wealth creation through developing new knowledge that lifts New Zealand’s economic performance (including an uplift in commercialisation), supports adaptation to climate change, builds a resilient and prosperous society
  • support growth of our base of innovative, high value exporting technology firms.

Ngā whāinga pūtea mō te Kōpaki Pūtea o Endeavour | Portfolio targets for the Endeavour Fund

Portfolio targets are used to help the Fund achieve its objective and set the long-term direction. They apply to all active contracts including new and existing ones. Because funding contracts are between 2 and 5 years it can take many years to achieve a portfolio target.

Only about one-quarter of the total funding each year is available for new investments.

Funding decisions will aim to rebalance the portfolio to meet the following portfolio targets.

Proportion of portfolio targets by research outcomes category

  • 70% Economic
  • 25% Environmental
  • 5% Societal

Proportion of portfolio targets by investment mechanism

  • 20% Smart Ideas
  • 80% Research Programmes

Achieving portfolio targets

The portfolio targets are:

  • flexible, so that the Science Board has ability to change the proportion invested in each outcome category in any given round, depending on the number and quality of proposals received
  • expressed in terms of the annual, not total, contract value.
Last updated: 12 July 2024