Professional development
Whakawhanaketanga ngaio

SfTI offers its researchers a professional development programme to support them to take their careers to the next level.

SfTI researchers can register for and attend our SfTI organised activities at no cost. If you would like to apply for funding for other development opportunities, we're keen to hear from you. There are some external providers that might interest you at the bottom of this page.

Use the online form in the ‘How to apply’ section or contact our Manager Capacity Development & Events Raewyn Tse to discuss.

KiwiNet Emerging Innovator Programme

SfTI has partnered with KiwiNet in order to offer SfTI researchers the opportunity to participate in the development opportunities KiwiNet offers. This includes the premium commercialisation offering for researchers, the Emerging Innovator Programme.

KiwiNet’s Emerging Innovator Programme provides funding and mentorship to enable scientists to build industry connections and demonstrate a proof-of-principle of a disruptive new invention. To be accepted into the programme, a scientist must demonstrate a clever new idea and a willingness to work closely with industry and/or commercial mentors as they develop a prototype.

This 6-month programme is starting its 2024 intake from February 20th. Find out more about what is involved.

If you are interested in this opportunity or any of KiwiNet's offers, please contact Raewyn.

Rewa Ake “to be elevated higher” EndUser Discovery Workshop Series 

Do you want your idea to be market ready? Do you know how to get more from industry engagement? SfTI is again working with KiwiNet to bring you this game-changing opportunity. 

Rewa Ake is a free online workshop series focusing on end user/customer engagement & Discovery for entrepreneurial researchers. Rewa Ake will help you elevate your idea and get out there to find your market. This is the perfect workshop for entrepreneurial researchers ready to go to the next level. 

This workshop series, facilitated by Ian Storie, will cover processes around framing customer-centric conversations, developing searching questions, active listening, language and positioning, customer discovery, segmentation and feedback.

“I would not have started having these conversations until much further on in the project but there were so many benefits in having the conversations much earlier and also in developing the ecosystem, so I had conversations with a broad range of customers.”

“Building trusting relationships is a special skill and maintaining those relationships is gold.”

Previous SfTI attendee. 

Where: Delivered online in three half-day sessions (9am-1pm) with homework

When: 5,6 & 28 March 2024.

Registrations closed 1 March 2024. Find out more and register with KiwiNet.

KiwiNet's GetFUNDED

Attract research and commercialisation financing by articulating the impact of your science ideas. KiwiNet's GetFUNDED is an in-person full on one-day experience with mentorship, comradeship, market validation, lean canvasing, customer discovery and opportunity assessment tools.

Come away better prepared to communicate the impact of your science ideas for investment.

When: 7 March 2024

Where: In-person in Auckland

Find out more and register. 

Check out all of Kiwinet's offerings 

If you are interested in any of Kiwinet's offers, please contact Raewyn.

IP Discovery workshop

The IP Discovery Workshop is an online training course that will guide emerging researchers keen to learn more about Intellectual Property and specifically patent searching. There will be three one-hour online sessions. With a focus on: 

  • Reasons for searching, e.g. technical knowledge, competitor intelligence, novelty (patentability) searching, Freedom to Operate FTO.
  • An understanding of when in the academic research timeline is good to do patent searching and when your TTO should be engaged
  • How to do meaningful searching for technology in their area of research
  • The different types of patent searching and how this can evolve from landscape searches to novelty to freedom-to-operate (FTO)
  • The benefits of doing patent searching for their current academic position
  • How patents or commercialisation are “recognised” as academic work outputs
  • How publication and commercialisation are balanced and what strategies can be used to manage this effectively

When:13, 20 and 27 March 2024

Where: Three one-hour online sessions

Find out more and register.   Registrations close on 5th March.

Check out all of Kiwinet's offerings 

If you are interested in any of Kiwinet's offers, please contact Raewyn.

All of Researchers' Workshop 2023

Kia whakatōmuri te haere whakamua - Looking backward towards the future 

14-16 November
Novotel Lakeside Hotel - Lake End, Tutanekai Street, Rotorua 3010
Te Puia - Hemo Rd, Tihiotonga, Rotorua 3010

The SfTI Programme Office, Board and Leadership Team, would like to extend our sincere gratitude for your participation in the SfTI All of Researchers' Workshop in Rotorua.

Your presence and engagement played a crucial role in making the event a success. The exchange of ideas, insights, and collaborative spirit amongst our SfTI community added immense value and energy to the overall experience.

We hope that you found the workshop both informative and engaging and kindly request you take 5 minutes to complete a short feedback survey. Your comments are valuable in helping us ensure we maximise the use of Capacity Development funding in the remaining months of the challenge. Please click here to complete the AoRW survey. 

Access a gallery of all our photos. 

Password: jhpsftirw23

Just in case you missed anything, access a selection of videos of the key sessions and panels from the workshop. 

Password: SfTI2023

Ngā mihi to all of our invited speakers

Sir Ashley Bloomfield
Lynell Tuffery Huria (Ngāti Ruanui, Ngāruahinerangi, Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi)
Dr Ratu Mataira
Seumas McCroskery
Max Thompson 
Kiri Lenagh-Glue
Kriv Naicker
Potaua Biasiny-Tule (Te Arawa, Tuhoe, Whakatohea, Niuean)
Dr Mahsa McCauley
Professor Rangi Mātāmua (Ngāi Tūhoe)

If you have any questions, contact Manager Capacity Development Programme & Events Raewyn Tse.

Video Storytelling Workshop with Baz Caitcheon

Would you like to share your science with the world? Get the skills to shoot your own short video on a smartphone, and edit it yourself, at this half-day in-person workshop in Auckland. 

The Video Storytelling Workshop is an opportunity to learn how to make video magic on your own, with ex-reality TV producer, Baz Caitcheon. Baz's background is in directing television and training not only print and TV journalists, but also enthusiastic video amateurs, to produce professional video stories using their phones.

The Science Media Centre and universities around NZ regularly book him to assist in communicating their science research successes and this is your opportunity to learn these skills.

Participants will learn how to shoot, edit & publish short videos like a social media pro using just their mobile device. With the opportunity to enter their videos into a competition at the end of the workshop. The top 3 videos will receive $1000 in project funding. 

BYO Android or Apple phone fully charged, your own headphones, and if possible, your own power bank. If you are new to shooting and editing on your phone, don’t worry, we start with the basics and there is ongoing support if you need it.

"I learned a great deal and came away enthusiastic to put my new-found skills to the test. I always thought this kind of thing was "too hard" for me. I got much more out of it than I thought I would. It was a very enjoyable day, which taught me a lot and gave me a new perspective on how I promote my research in the public realm." Previous SfTI attendee. 

Read about our previous SfTI Video Story Telling Workshop.

Where: Auckland 

When: Tues 31 October 

Register today by emailing . Places are limited, so register now to avoid disappointment. 

Watch: Kōrero on the Couch - Talking Māori leadership with Pauline Harris, Heni Unwin and Te Taka Keegan

What does it mean to be a Māori leader in the innovation space in Aotearoa?

What are the shifts and trends we are seeing right now for Māori in the science sector and what does this mean for the future? 

Explore the answers to these questions in out latest Kōrero on the Couch, a relaxed online QnA session with these experienced Māori research leaders: SfTI Vision Mātauranga Theme Leader, SfTI Board Co-Chair Te Taka Keegan (Waikato-Maniapoto, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Whakaaue), Pauline Harris (Rongomaiwahine, Ngāti Rakaipaka and Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairoa), and research leader Heni Unwin (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairoa, Rongomaiwahine, Ngāi Tūhoe, Te Atihaunui-a-Papaarangi).

You can watch our previous Kōrero on the Couch sessions: 

Talking Science Entrepreneurship with Shieak Tzeng and Kat Lintott

Talking leadership with Reece Moors, plus SfTI Board members, Traci Houpapa and John Bongard

Get expert guidance and one-on-one support with Grant Writing.

Following SfTI's engaging webinar with inspiring Science Entrepreneur, MecTech Co-founder and CEO, Shieak Tzeng, we have a premium opportunity to apply for Shieak's 5-week 'Grantsmanship' course. 

SfTI will support 6 researchers through this weekly online course to fine-tune your grants applications for success. This course requires approximately 2 hours a week including a coaching call with Shieak and other researchers. 

Download more details about Shieak’s Grantsmanship course.

When: The online course will be 90mins, once a week, beginning week of 14th August. 

Register: This course is now full. Please contact Raewyn if you are interested in future courses.  

Shieak is a former doctor and academic, and currently CEO of Medtech startup Wellumio. He is passionate about scientific entrepreneurship and experienced in taking research to commercialised products. Find out more about Shieak and his work as founder and lead coach at his company INNER MVP.

The 'Kōrero on the Couch' webinar was facilitated by SfTI Board member and co-founder of the Wellington-based creative and multi-media story-telling agency Wrestler, Kat Lintott (Ngāi Tahu) and covered how to better secure investment and a path to commercialisation for your research idea. Watch it now. 

Would you like to be more media Savvy?  

Get SfTI support to attend a Science Media Centre (SMC) Media SAVVY course this year

Looking for media training? The SMC offers highly-acclaimed workshops and talks created for all scientists and researchers. Plus a Media SAVVY for Māori researchers, supporting kaupapa Māori. 

Where: The Science Media Center in Wellington / Auckland 


Find out more and dates for all upcoming workshops on the SMC website. 

Register: If you're interested in receiving SfTI support to attend these courses, including travel support, contact Raewyn. 

About SfTI’s Professional Development Programme – Hei whakatipu āheinga

SfTI’s unique professional development programme supports researchers to build their human skills and networking capacity. We provide SfTI researchers the opportunity to develop their skills to:

  • collaborate, connect and lead with confidence
  • engage with Māori and industry
  • bring their research closer to commercialisation.

This is a separate fund for SfTI researchers, over and above project funding. 

Funding eligibility and criteria

If you’re a SfTI researcher, you can apply for funding to attend external workshops, courses, conferences, showcases, secondments and mentorship programmes. You can apply for funding to cover costs such as:

  • national workshop or conference registration
  • costs for consultancies and mentorships
  • travel costs
  • accommodation costs.

Things to consider in your application

To be successful in your funding application, you need to consider how the opportunities will support you to develop you human (soft skills) and relational (networking) capacity. For example:

  • Conference attendance outside your area of expertise to develop new contacts with innovators, industry or Māori is considered relational capacity development or;
  • Attending a workshop on leading people, is a human capacity building opportunity.

Funding does not include:

  • Activities that can be classed as science ‘business as usual’. For example, conference attendance to present to your familiar science community colleagues – this is considered a core research activity.
  • International conference travel.

For more information on what expenses we cover, refer to our expenses reimbursement policy, available here:

How to apply

To apply for funding fill out our online form, and the Capacity Development team will be in touch to discuss your options, alternatively you can contact us directly if you have some questions:


Your funding has been approved and you really enjoyed your experience, or you’re not sure it was right for you. Whatever your feedback – we want to know! This feedback is a condition to the funding you receive and will help us find suitable future opportunities for our research community.

Once your training event has finished, you can give us your feedback by completing the Capacity Development Evaluation Form, and don’t worry if you forget, a member of the team will be in touch with a reminder.