New Zealand Research Information System

The New Zealand Research Information System (NZRIS) will be a national, online hub of information about research, science and innovation in New Zealand.


The New Zealand Research Information System (NZRIS) will hold information about research activity in New Zealand, such as what projects are under way, how they are being funded, what resources are being used, who the experts are in particular fields and more.

NZRIS will also be a useful tool for the research, science and innovation sector. It will open up access to data, help to create common data standards, simplify administration, help to reduce the reporting burden and enable the re-use of data.

NZRIS will be for anyone to use – students, members of the public, media, the government and of course the research community itself.

There will be different levels of access depending on the nature of the data – for example, commercially sensitive or private information will either be inaccessible to the public, or presented as aggregated data. 

How NZRIS will work

NZRIS will use a technology solution that will allow data to be held in one place and presented in a way that is user friendly and manageable.

NZRIS will contain two main types of data: data about funding and non-monetary resources, and data about research activity. Data about funding and other resources will generally include the name of the research fund or other resource, its purpose, how it is being distributed and who it is distributed to. Research activity data will generally include the name of the project and outputs. Both types of data will include the names of organisations and individuals involved in the research.

The data will be provided by organisations that fund research and organisations that undertake research, referred to as “NZRIS data providers”. Examples of data providers include organisations that fund research such as the Health Research Council, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the Royal Society Te Apārangi, the Ministry for Primary Industries and others, and organisations that undertake research such as Crown Research Institutes, universities and more.

As NZRIS matures, it is expected that more and more organisations will provide data, and that the type of data provided will also expand.  

The case for NZRIS

For years the research sector has grappled with the issue of not having a central and easily accessible source of information about research activity in New Zealand.

The New Zealand Government invests around $1.8b a year in research, science and innovation, in activity that is undertaken by many different organisations and institutions.

Finding out about what is happening across the system is not easy. Answering basic questions like “how much is invested in a particular area of research?” can be surprisingly difficult, let alone answering more in-depth questions about the value of these investments or where there might be gaps.

NZRIS will solve this problem by creating a single online hub of consistent, standardised and accurate information about the sector. NZRIS is a key action from the 2016 Research, Science and Innovation Domain Plan [PDF, 1.2 MB].

Over time, NZRIS will help achieve:

  • a more comprehensive picture of what research, science and innovation is happening
  • greater exposure of New Zealand research, science and innovation and acknowledgement of our work
  • a reduction in the reporting burden, particularly as NZRIS matures
  • improvements in the collection and re-use of data across the sector
  • reduction in the duplication of activities
  • the ability to develop new products and services
  • smarter decisions around investments
  • identification in gaps in knowledge.

How NZRIS is being developed

The development and operation of the New Zealand Research Information System (NZRIS) is underpinned by a commitment to collaboration, co-governance and co-design.

We are working in partnership with the research, science and innovation sector, including the Māori research community, to build NZRIS in a way that benefits all participants and users.

The NZRIS programme is led out of MBIE, and there are a number of stakeholder groups that support the development process. 

NZRIS Stewardship and Oversight Group (NSOG)

NSOG is a cross-sector group that will be responsible for providing oversight of NZRIS in future. Professor Richard Blaikie, Deputy Vice Chancellor Research & Enterprise from the University of Otago, has been appointed as the chair of this group. You can find out more about NSOG, including the Terms of Reference, on our website.

Funder Researcher Working Group (FRWG)

This cross-sector group has been in place since the inception of NZRIS. It serves as a sounding board for NZRIS-related matters that affect the wider sector and provides operational guidance and input to the development of NZRIS.

RS&I sub-sector and functional groups

These groups are set up on an as-required basis to act as focused working groups on selected matters or common areas of interest. We have a specific group of university representatives working on what NZRIS means for that sector. This is an example of a functional group.

NZRIS timeline

NZRIS is an iterative system which we expect to grow and develop over time.

There are currently three phases to the programme, as follows:

  • Phase 1 runs until September 2019. This phase focuses on data from four major funders of research – the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the Ministry for Primary Industries, the Royal Society Te Apārangi and the Health Research Council. We’ll release the first public view of the data in NZRIS later in the year. 

  • Phase 2 runs from September 2019 until June 2020 and will involve bringing other research funding organisations on board.

  • Phase 3 runs from June 2020 until the end of 2021 and will see research organisations such as universities and Crown Research Institutes start to become part of NZRIS.

Learning from similar systems overseas

National research information systems have been implemented in countries such as Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Portugal and the United States. Finland and the UK are also developing national systems.

The Research Council's UK Gateway to Research (external link) has information about funded research and, while not a full national system, gives an idea of the type of information we intend to hold in NZRIS.

We have had discussions with a number of countries about their systems and are using this knowledge to develop NZRIS.

In this section

NZRIS development

We are working in partnership with the research, science and innovation sector to build a New Zealand Research Information System that benefits all participants and users.

NZRIS tools, resources and documents

Find documents, guidelines and tools for the New Zealand Research Information System (NZRIS).

NZRIS newsletters

Keep up to date with what's happening in the NZRIS programme.

Note: We've recently changed our name from National Research Information System to New Zealand Research Information System. As we created some of our documents before the name change, they still refer to NRIS rather than NZRIS. As we create new versions and documents, we will update them to reflect our new name.

Last updated: 04 June 2019