Professional development
Whakawhanaketanga ngaio

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

About SfTI’s Capacity Development Programme – Hei whakatipu āheinga

SfTI’s unique professional development programme supports researchers to build their human (soft skills) and relational (networking) capacity – we call it our Capacity Development Programme. 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 their existing project funding. Read on for more details on eligibility, criteria, upcoming events and how to apply.

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:

Upcoming Capacity Development events

Here’s some upcoming Capacity Development opportunities that SfTI researchers can register for and attend at no cost. If you would like to apply for funding for other development opportunities, you can apply through our online form in the section above – ‘How to apply’, or contact us if you need more information about applying.

Note, this is not a full list of the activities we support, and you can find some more suggestions at the bottom of this page.

Regional SfTI Researcher Workshops 2021

This year we would like to invite SfTI researchers to host their own regional Researchers Workshop instead of our annual Researchers Workshop. The annual Researchers Workshop is usually an in-person workshop held in November over two days, however due to Covid-19, it is unlikely we will have the opportunity to gather all researchers together in 2021. 

Regional workshops will give you the chance to strengthen local relationships, maximise immediate opportunities and take advantage of the opportunity for face to face relationship building in a safe way.

Get in touch with your project or theme leader to discuss how a bespoke, local event can help you achieve your professional development goals in your region. We can provide logistics support so send us your ideas for your hui today!

If you would like to host a workshop or have questions, please contact 

Patent-searching workshop series 

Do you want to know if your research is truly unique? Learn how to enhance your patent-searching skills, plus discover useful technical knowledge, improve your grant applications and identify potential collaborators and competitors at SfTI’s Patent-searching workshop series. In partnership with KiwiNet and facilitated by Tim Stirrup (PhD), a Registered NZ and Australian Patent Attorney at Prime Innovation, this opportunity is open to all SfTI funded researchers. Find out more 

Where: Delivered in 3 online interactive one hour workshops. 

Session 1: Wed 27 Oct 12-1pm
Session 2: Wed 3 Nov 12-2pm
Session 3: Tue 9 Nov 12-1pm 

Register: If you would like to register and for more information or questions, email with your name, location and phone number. Registration closes on Wed 20 October 12pm.

Ngā Taonga Tuku Iho: Wai 262 and the National Science Challenges

The Rauika Māngai hosted two webinars in July 2021 to help us understand the implications for Aotearoa's science system of the current all-of-government work to resolve long-outstanding issues related to the Wai 262 Waitangi Tribunal claim – and provide an opportunity to discuss how the final stage of the National Science Challenges could provide a unique environment for responding to these issues. 

You can watch the recorded webinars here

Wellington Uni-Professional - Māori capability training

Increase your understanding of Māori culture and build your confidence for engaging with Māori. The Wellington Uni-Professional has three courses available.

Where: Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington).
When: Various dates and multiple sessions throughout the year, follow the link to find out the sessions available: 

Register: If you would like to register and for more information or questions email with your name, location and phone number. 

Engaging with the Māori Economy

Discover key insights on how and why to engage with the $68.7 billion Māori economy as it continues to grow and develop as an integral part of the economic ecosystem of Aotearoa. Join one of the Business Intelligence Series Workshops: Engaging with the Māori Economy.

Where: Virtual

When: Nov 8th, 7:30 am - 9:30 am NZDT

The workshop will cover:

  • Understanding the Māori economy and why it is an integral part of Aotearoa’s economy across a wide range of industries and sectors.
  • Current challenges for the Māori economy.
  • Opportunities for businesses and investors from engaging well with Māori business.
  • Real life examples of successful Māori enterprises and current investment and partnership opportunities.
  • Unravelling the mysteries of meaningful engagement: Practical tips to understand key principles that underpin Māori businesses, and how these principles drive strategic outcomes different from the traditional Western business models.

Register: If you would like to register and for more information or questions email with your name, location and phone number

Get Funded 

Learn how to better attract investment by communicating the impact of your science ideas at KiwiNet’s two day workshop 

Where: Dunedin, Petridish - 8 Stafford Street, Dunedin Central.

When: 9 & 10 November 2021

Key learnings include:

  • Identifying a value proposition – how to assess an opportunity and narrow down on a core value proposition that meets an identified market need.
  • Preparing investment/funding case – how to construct an investment case that combines a realistic implementation plan with a strong value proposition for the investor.
  • Pitching to investors/funders – how to present a strong investment pitch to a diverse audience.

Register: If you would like to register and for more information or questions email with your name, location and phone number.


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 you training event has finished, you can find the online feedback form here, and don’t worry if you forget, one of the team will be in touch with a reminder.

Suggested capacity development activities