The New Zealand Research Information System (NZRIS) will hold information about research funding and 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 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, government, businesses and of course the research community itself.

The case for NZRIS

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 help 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.

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 will work

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

As NZRIS matures, it is expected to contain two main types of data: data about funding and other resources that enable research to happen; and data about the research activity itself. 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. Data about research activity 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 and the Royal Society Te Apārangi and organisations that undertake research such as Crown Research Institutes, universities and others.

To start with, NZRIS will only hold funding data from selected funding organisations. Over time, it will also include data about research activity.  

NZRIS timeline

NZRIS is being introduced in phases, with more organisations becoming data providers at each phase, and a wider range of data being provided at each phase.

Phase 1: data submission and storage

We have completed two NZRIS system components: the Custodian Application, which allows submission of data into the NZRIS system, and the Data Warehouse which provides secure storage and protection of that data. Phase 1 will also see the on-boarding of our three early data providers, the Health Research Council, the Royal Society Te Apārangi and the Science System, Investment and Performance (SSIP) branch of MBIE

Phase 2: data access and extraction

In this phase we will launch the public website. This Phase will allow public access to data, and include the provision of basic insights that will help the public understand our public investments in research, science and innovation. We will also grow the amount of information submitted to the Custodian Application by adding more research funders, and expanding the range and type of information provided

Phase 3: expansion and development

In this phase we intend to bring in data from research organisations, which will allow us to make the connections between funding and the outputs that are generated. We will also gain information on system inputs, such as the organisations and people involved in research activities. This will build the picture along the impact results-chain and give us greater understanding of how the system works to increase our collective well-being. To do this, we need to secure additional funding, which will be used to expand the capacity of NZRIS and support organisations to create systems that support data contribution.

Last updated: 25 March 2022