Unlocking Curious Minds contestable fund

The Unlocking Curious Minds contestable fund supports the objective of He Whenua Hihiri I Te Mahara - A Nation of Curious Minds to encourage and enable better engagement with science and technology across all of New Zealand.

The Fund's objective

The objective of the Fund is to support projects that use innovative and/or best-practice approaches to provide New Zealanders with more opportunities to learn about and engage with science and technology, by:

  • funding education and community outreach initiatives that focus on science and technology
  • broadening participants’ ability to engage with science and technology
  • promoting the relevance of science and technology in their lives
  • supporting them to engage in societal debate about science and technology issues facing the country.

The General Manager, Science System Investment and Performance makes the final investment decisions on which proposals will be funded.

2021 funding round information

After careful consideration we have decided to defer Unlocking Curious Minds for 2021. This means that we won’t be running the normal call for proposals round for projects for 2021. This will be disappointing to many organisations who may be starting to develop new ideas

We now better understand the impacts of COVID-19 on the science sector and organisational priorities. We’re working closely with organisations to make sure that the funding and support we provide is fit for purpose in the current environment

For many MBIE funded projects, work has stalled or been delayed as a result of COVID-19. We want to give those project teams an opportunity to fully plan, execute and evaluate their projects before continuing with this investment. 

For currently funded projects, an extension on the timeframes for completion of the projects and progress reports can be applied for by emailing curiousminds@mbie.govt.nz.

We are committed to supporting science and creating A Nation of Curious Minds. While investment is paused we will consider how Unlocking Curious Minds can best support New Zealanders to experience and connect with science and technology from 2022 onwards. In the meantime funding will be used to support other priorities within the broader Curious Minds portfolio. 


Essential documents

Document Description
Unlocking Curious Minds contestable fund 2020 Investment Round Call for Proposals [PDF, 1.7 MB] The information required to prepare and submit a funding proposal.
Unlocking Curious Minds Contestable Fund 2020 Investment Round Assessment Guidelines [PDF, 982 KB] The information on how funding applications will be assessed.
scienceonline.tki.org.nz(external link) The principles, aims, values, objectives, and key competencies of the New Zealand Curriculum – Science.
A Nation of Curious Minds He Whenua Hihiri i te Mahara [PDF, 1.2 MB](external link) New Zealand's national strategic plan for science and society.
National Statement of Science Investments 2015-2025 [PDF, 1.8 MB] The New Zealand Government’s science investment strategy
Unlocking Curious Minds - Funding Agreement [PDF, 284 KB] The terms and conditions of the Funding Agreement that will apply to the provision of funding agreed between us and the contracting organisation.