Smart Ideas Call for Proposals 2024 investment round - Endeavour Fund

We are inviting proposals for the Endeavour - Smart Ideas funding mechanism. The Fund’s objective is to catalyse and rapidly tests promising, innovative research ideas with high potential for benefit to New Zealand, to refresh and enable diversity in the science portfolio.

The funding available

The indicative total annual funding available is $18m (excluding GST). Each individual contract value is between $0.4m and $1m (excluding GST) for a term of 2 or 3 years. 

For the 2024 investment round, the Science Board will aim to fund at least 49 Smart Ideas proposals.

Who can apply

For proposals to be eligible under the Endeavour Smart Ideas mechanism, they must:

  • be made by a New Zealand-based Research Organisation or a New Zealand-based legal entity representing a New Zealand-based Research Organisation
  • be designed so that the majority of benefits accrue outside of the Research Organisation or legal entity which represents the Research Organisation
  • not be made by a department of the public service as listed in Schedule 2 of the Public Service Act 2020
  • be made under an investment mechanism specified in the Schedules of the 2024 Gazette Notice
  • be for research, science or technology, or related activities, the majority of which are to be undertaken in New Zealand, unless the Science Board considers that there are compelling reasons to consider the proposals, despite the amount of research, science or technology or related activities being proposed to be undertaken overseas
  • not benefit a Russian state institution (including but not limited to support for Russian military or security activity) or an organisation outside government that may be perceived as contributing to the war effort
  • meet any applicable timing, formatting, system or other similar administrative requirements imposed by MBIE in supplying administrative services to the Science Board under section 10(7) of the RS&T Act 2010
  • advise that the proposed funding recipient will, and the Science Board is of the view that it can, adhere to the terms and conditions of funding set out in an investment contract determined by the Science Board
  • not be for activities already funded elsewhere.

In addition to the above criteria, to be eligible:

  • research proposals can include some out-of-scope research outcomes (health which includes cost savings to the healthcare system, defence and expanding knowledge) and remain eligible, as long as the sum of these outcomes is less than 50% of the proposal’s outcomes.

Application and assessment information

The application and assessment process includes:

  1. Registration - applicants cannot submit a Concept until they have registered.
  2. Applicant submits a Concept.
  3. Independent Assessors review and score the Concept against the Excellence assessment criteria.
  4. The Science Board decides if the Concept is eligible.
  5. Based on the Assessor reviews and scores, the Science Board decides which Concepts progress to Full Proposal submission.
  6. Successful applicants are invited to submit a Full Proposal.
  7. Feedback from Assessors to applicants on Smart Ideas Concepts.
  8. Independent Assessors review and score the Full Proposal against:
    • the Excellence assessment criteria, and
    • the Impact assessment criteria.
  9. The Science Board decides if the Full Proposal is eligible.
  10. The Science Board makes its investment decisions using the Assessor reviews and scores, and may use the portfolio approach.

Completing your registration and submitting proposals

Applicants are required to complete their registration and submit proposals in Pītau, our Investment Management System ¬ a secure online portal. To help you prepare your registration and proposals we have provided 3 templates:

  • Smart Ideas Registration template
  • Smart Ideas Concept Proposal template
  • Smart Ideas Full Proposal template

These templates are in the key documents section below.

Key dates

Activity Date
Registration period 30 October until 12 noon, 15 November 2023
Submission period for Concepts 30 October until 12 noon, 27 November 2023
Roadshows 2, 10, 11, October 2023
Concepts Excellence assessment 15 January to 31 January 2024
Science Board decisions on Concepts 13 March 2024
Applicants notified of Concepts decisions By 27 March 2024
Feedback from Assessors to applicants on Smart Ideas Concepts By 27 March 2024
Smart Ideas Full Proposals submission period 27 March to 12 noon, 8 May 2024
Full Proposals Excellence and Impact assessment 19 June to 9 July 2024
Science Board makes funding decisions 28 August 2024
Applicants notified of funding decisions Mid-September 2024
Funding decisions announced Late September 2024
Applicant feedback Late September 2024
Contracts begin 1 October 2024

Dates are subject to change. If they change, we’ll let you know by email. To be added to the email list, email:

You can also subscribe to our Alert e-newsletter.

Subscribe here(external link)

Endeavour Fund Roadshows: 2024 Investment Round

Following the completion of the Roadshows, you can download a copy of the presentation slides: 

Endeavour Fund 2024 Roadshows webinar recording

Key documents

When developing your proposal, we encourage you to consult the following key reference documents:

Endeavour Fund 2024 Investment Round Gazette Notice(external link) —

Endeavour Fund

The assessment criteria

Assessors will assess proposals on each of the criteria (below) and them score them from 1 (Low quality) to 7 (High quality). Each Concept Proposals will be assessed and scored by 3 Assessors. Smart Ideas Full Proposals will be assessed and scored by up to 8 Assessors (4 for Excellence and 4 for Impact).

See the assessment and scoring guidance:

Assessment and scoring guidance - Smart Ideas 2024 Investment Round

Excellence (Smart Ideas Concepts and Full Proposals)
Impact (Smart Ideas Full Proposals only)
Vision Mātauranga Assessment

Conflicts of interest

We will publish the membership of the College of Assessors on our College of Assessors webpage.

College of Assessors.

If you identify that an Assessor has an actual, potential, or perceived direct or indirect conflict of interest, declare this in the Conflicts of Interest section of your application. If you discover a potential conflict of interest after proposal submission, you must notify us immediately with details of the conflict by emailing:

Conflicts of interest may occur on 2 different levels:

A direct conflict of interest, where an Assessor is:

  • directly involved with a proposal (as a participant, manager, mentor, or partner) or has a close personal relationship with the applicant, for example, family members, or
  • a collaborator or in some other way involved with an applicant’s proposal.

An indirect conflict of interest, where an Assessor:

  • is employed by an organisation involved in a proposal but is not part of the applicant’s proposal
  • has a personal and/or professional relationship with one of the applicants, for example, an acquaintance
  • is assessing a proposal under discussion that may compete with their business interests.

Investment decisions

The Science Board decides on eligibility and makes the investment decisions in accordance with the Endeavour Fund 2024 Investment Round Gazette Notice, considering:

  • independent Assessor reviews and scores, and portfolio balancing
  • investment signals and targets in the Endeavour Fund Investment Plan 2022-2024.

The Science Board may decide to invest less than the total funding indicated in the Gazette Notice.

Contracting, payment, reporting and monitoring

Contracting (variation process)

If the Science Board decides to invest in your proposal, MBIE will enter into a Science Investment Contract and an associated Work Programme Agreement with your organisation (subject to any pre-contract conditions being met). A sample contract is available in our key documents section.

The Science Board may:

  • set pre-contract conditions that must be met before MBIE and the applicant organisation can enter into a Science Investment Contract or any Work Programme Agreement
  • set special contract conditions, and/or
  • vary the amount of funding allocated from that requested.


For successful applicants, the total funding over the term of the contract will be split into equal monthly payments and paid in advance.

Reporting and monitoring

Successful applicants will be required to report once a year in Pītau – our online portal. Reporting guidance and reporting templates are published annually.

Annual Report

An annual report is required for programmes that finish after 30 September 2024 and should be submitted between Monday 1 July 2024 and Friday 30 August 2024. This covers your progress against the deliverables and tasks identified in the work programme, details of any emerging risks, and what is being done to address them. See the Annual Reporting Template in the key documents section.

Final Report

A final report is typically required within 1 month after the end date of your contract. For programmes that finish on or before 30 September 2024, final reports should be submitted between Monday 1 July 2024 and Friday 30 August 2024.

This covers commentary on the overall project outcomes, including key achievements, the steps taken and, where applicable, the changes made to your approach. See the Final Reporting Template in the key documents section.

Last updated: 13 June 2024