Expression of interest call for industry-led spearhead projects

26 March 2017 | Read time: 2 minutes

Spearhead projects are intended to deliver specific innovative technologies to help the Science for Technological Innovation National Science Challenge (SfTI) to achieve its mission of enhancing New Zealand’s capacity to use physical and engineering sciences for economic growth.

For the 2017 funding round, we are looking to fund 2-3 new spearhead projects to the tune of $1m per annum for two years.

During a series of workshops, we have asked industry leaders to put forward, discuss and agree some key directions for New Zealand’s high-tech future.

As a result, four research directions are being taken forward, and researchers are now being invited to express interest in bringing together or joining a New Zealand-wide team to develop formal proposals to address the following key research directions:

  1. Connecting fragmented communities – the digital marae/whare
  2. Intelligent oceans – smart sustainable farming in the ocean
  3. Small scale production – learning robots and robots in harsh environments
  4. Personalised value chain – the individual as a customer.

At least one project will be fully Māori-led with an appropriate Māori governance structure, and guided by the SfTI Kahui Māori.

The Call for EOI (expression of interest) documents are available by request them from

We will fund travel and workshop costs for potential team members to meet, form a functioning team, develop project plans and then a formal proposal.

Key dates

  • Call for EOIs released – 21 April 2017.

  • EOI applications close – COB 2 May 2017.

  • Teams notified of EOI results – 8 May 2017.

  • Teams start working on proposals – 8 May 2017.

  • Full spearhead proposals close – 5 June 2017.

  • Successful applicants notified – July 2017.

  • Projects start – as soon as possible from July 2017.

  • Contract completion date – 30 June 2019.