Data science investment

An investment in data science research will build New Zealand's existing data science capability.

The New Zealand Government will invest in up to four strategic multi-disciplinary data science research programmes each inspired by real world problems. We want to make sure New Zealand has sufficient advanced data science capability to develop useful and transformative data science techniques, and to create benefits for New Zealand.  The new investment is intended to significantly lift New Zealand’s capability and to support and encourage dynamic and world class data science research.

We now invite proposals for ambitious, excellent and well-defined research programmes which deliver on the Government’s data science investment goals.

The funding available

The total funding available for a portfolio of data science investments is up to $49 million over 7 years (exclusive of GST).

Funding available for each programme will be between $1 million to $3 million per year for 7 years.  Each research programme will be contracted separately.

Who can apply

To be eligible for funding:

  1. Applicants must be a New Zealand-based legal entity with established research capability. 
  2. Applicants must have access to an advanced network that allows rapid and high fidelity national and international transfer of data with minimal packet loss and enables data-intensive research activity and collaboration with international researchers.
  3. The majority of the research, science or technology, or related activities are to be undertaken in New Zealand, unless we agree there are compelling reasons not to. 
  4. The applicant’s organisation cannot be a department of the public service listed in Schedule 1 of the State Sector Act 1988.

Funding decisions

Investment decisions will be made by the Deputy Chief Executive (DCE), of the Labour, Science and Enterprise Group of MBIE, informed by advice from a Panel of independent expert assessors.  The Panel will advise on individual proposals and on the optimal portfolio of programmes to be funded, based on the following criteria:

  • Each proposal funded has sufficient merit as assessed against the investment goals and assessment criteria.
  • The portfolio of funded programmes consists of a maximum of 4 programmes, with the total investment not exceeding $49 million over 7 years. 
  • How well the mix of investments and the resulting total portfolio meet the investment goals
  • The balance across the portfolio, in particular, the concentration of publicly funded research in a given area, the value-for money and the risk profile of the portfolio as a whole.

The application process

The New Zealand Data Science Programme investment comprises a two-phase investment process.

Phase 1: Registration

  • Interested parties are invited to register.
  • Registration is compulsory. 
  • Applicants cannot submit a proposal unless they have registered.
  • MBIE will use the information collected at registration to prepare for the assessment of submitted proposals.

Phase 2:  Proposal

  • Applicants submit a proposal.
  • A panel of independent expert assessors will assess eligible proposals.
  • Vision Mātauranga experts will assess eligible proposals against the assessment criteria and Vision Matauranga policy, and will provide recommendations to the Assessment Panel. 
  • We may request further information or seek clarification regarding your application. 
  • Applicants may be invited to present their proposal to the Assessment Panel and the Vision Mātauranga experts in Wellington. 
  • The Assessment Panel will provide recommendations to MBIE that will inform the final decision on which proposals will progress to contracting.
  • All applicants will be notified of the assessment outcome.

The Call for Proposals sets information required to prepare and submit a funding application as well as the assessment criteria. 

Call for proposals [PDF, 879 KB]

Important dates

29 April 2019 | 12.30pm - 4.00pm Information session
7 May 2019 - 30 May 2019 | 12 noon Registration period
7 May 2019 until 18 July 2019 | 12 noon Submission period for proposals
July – August 2019 Assessment of proposals
August 2019 Assessment Panel meeting
September 2019 Funding decision(s) announced
Negotiated Contract begins

NB Dates are subject to change

Essential documents

Strategic Science Investment Fund: New Zealand Data Science Research Programmes 2019 Call for Proposals [PDF, 879 KB] The information required to prepare and submit a funding proposal
Strategic Science Investment Fund: New Zealand Data Science Research Programmes - 2019 funding round questions and answers [PDF, 253 KB] Application questions and answers as at July 2019
Strategic Science Investment Fund: New Zealand Data Science Research Programmes Assessment Guidelines 2019 [PDF, 671 KB] Information on how 2019 funding applications will be assessed
Strategic Science Investment Fund Investment Plan 2017-2024  [PDF, 794 KB] The New Zealand Government’s strategy for its science investment until 2024
National Statement of Science Investments 2015-2025 [PDF, 1.8 MB] The New Zealand Government’s science investment strategy
Vision Mātauranga Policy [PDF, 359 KB] The policy framework for unlocking the innovation potential of Māori knowledge, resources, and people for the benefit of New Zealand
Strategic Science Investment Fund: Programmes investment contract for a New Zealand data science research programme [PDF, 449 KB] The terms and conditions of the Data Science Investment Contract will apply to the provision of funding agreed between us and the contracting organisation

More information

MBIE seeks data scientists for Singapore bilateral research scoping workshop

Last updated: 17 April 2019