Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Capability Fund

The Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Capability Fund seeks to support research organisations to identify and break down barriers to attracting, retaining and growing an equitable, diverse and inclusive workforce.

The Fund aims to promote best EDI practice across Aotearoa New Zealand to ensure our research sector includes different perspectives reflecting our diverse population. The Fund will support research organisations to build stronger connections and partnerships with Māori, and to create an environment and workforce that reflects the diversity of Aotearoa New Zealand, giving equal opportunities for all to participate, grow and thrive.

The funding available

$1.5 Million (GST exclusive) was available for investment in the first round of the EDI Capability Fund in 2021. Currently no further investment rounds are planned.

In the 2021 round, the Fund targeted research organisations and their representing sector organisations or associations (peak bodies) in Aotearoa New Zealand to uplift their capability to identify and remove EDI barriers within their workplace. 

2021 funding round decisions

After negotiations with 3 successful applicants from the 2021 funding round, a total of $1.337 million has been invested. The successful applicants and their funded projects are detailed below.

The successful applicants' EDI projects are all focused on increasing Māori participation in their organisation’s workforce and will be completed by December 2023. When completed, project information will be publicly available on the organisations’ websites to help share EDI approaches within the RSI sector. Details of the projects funded are listed below.

Expected outcomes from the projects are:

  • an integrated and collaborative approach towards developing and implementing EDI best practices for members of each of the 3 sector groupings: Crown research institutes, New Zealand universities, and independent research organisations, and
  • partnering with Māori to strengthen and grow Māori participation in the RSI workforce.

2021 funded projects

Mā Te Ara Pātaiao ka taea – Enabling science pathways for Māori

NIWA (on behalf of Science New Zealand) is contracted by MBIE for $464,220 excluding GST from 1 March 2022 to 30 September 2023 for the project Mā Te Ara Pātaiao ka taea - Enabling science pathways for Māori.

Mā Te Ara Pātaiao ka taea public statement

This Project will develop a broad, pan-CRI, Māori graduate development and mentoring programme of excellence that is based on best practice and shared knowledge of what is working well across the CRIs and what is not working well.

The CRIs will leverage resources and establish networks with the aim to grow and develop the talent pool, prompting further study or full-time employment for Māori (especially in CRIs - New Zealand’s largest providers of science research to the public and private sectors).

The Project will align pathways and aim to promote science careers in CRIs as meaningful, quality employment options through pan-CRI engagement with universities, and provide Māori students/graduates with access to opportunities and visible career pathways across all CRIs.

Piki Ake – Redesigning the Trajectory for Māori Researchers at New Zealand Universities

New Zealand Vice-Chancellors’ Committee (trading as, “Universities New Zealand”) is contracted by MBIE for $720,000 excluding GST from 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2024 for the project Piki Ake - Redesigning the Trajectory for Māori Researchers at New Zealand Universities.

Piki Ake public statement

The sustainability of the research workforce in Aotearoa New Zealand largely relies on the recruitment, retention, development and promotion of talent within the university sector. New Zealand must also retain our best and brightest and must also compete at the international level to ensure we cannot only attract the very best researchers, but also grow our own. This is particularly relevant for the development and support of Māori researchers and their capacity and capability in this country.

The Pike Ake programme seeks to address this challenge by redesigning the trajectory for Māori researchers across New Zealand’s 8 universities to achieve 15% Māori representation in the university research workforce by 2030.

More than simply ‘adding in’ Māori researchers to our existing structures, the programme aims to strengthen the opportunities through a ‘clustering’ methodology and think more expansively about how to remove barriers and provide opportunities, while at the same time maintaining a focus on excellence and quality.

This programme is jointly presented by all 8 universities and is underpinned by a commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, and excellence, on the basis that a combined approach to building and sustaining the Māori research workforce will provide benefit for all.”

Ngā Mahi Ngātahi – Career paths and partnerships

The Cawthron Institute Trust Board trading as the Cawthron Institute (on behalf of IRANZ) is contracted by MBIE for $153,000 excluding GST from 30 June 2022 to 31 December 2023 for the project Ngā Mahi Ngātahi.

Ngā Mahi Ngātahi public statement

Hāpaitia te ara tika kia pūmau ai te rangatiratanga mō ngā uri whakatupu, Mā ngā hononga e whakarei i te mana o ngā rōpū te hunga Māori me IRANZ.

Foster the pathway of knowledge to strength, independence, and growth for future generations through partnerships that enhance the mana of Māori and IRANZ.

Māori will represent ~30% of the workforce by 2030, but currently represent less than 2% of the scientific workforce. IRANZ members have identified 2 integrated steps in a programme to significantly increase and embrace Māori participation in our workforces: Ngā Ara Mahi me, Ngā Mahi Ngātahi (Career Paths and Partnerships).

This proposal led by IRANZ member Cawthron Institute addresses Ngā Mahi Ngātahi. The Ngā Mahi Ngātahi project aims to lift Māori communities’ (whānau, hapū, marae) and Māori organisations (Iwi, Post Settlement Governance Entity) engagement in the IRANZ workforce by following kaupapa Māori principles, including manaakitanga and whānaungatanga, into collaborative development of more inclusive Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Mātauranga (STEMM)-based professions in our organisations.

IRANZ members will develop world-leading EDI policies, practices, organisational cultures, and partnerships that engage with Māori, break down barriers, embrace Māori cultures and traditions and build strong reciprocal relationships with Māori communities and organisations.

The project will survey IRANZ members’ EDI policies, practices, organisational cultures, and partnerships with Māori. It will build on the results of the MBIE RSI workforce organisational surveys.

Last updated: 30 November 2023