Spearhead projects
Kaupapa arataki

Spearheads projects are large Aotearoa NZ-relevant research projects that span over three years, funded up to $1m per annum. They are predominantly developed in partnership with Māori and industry representatives through Mission Labs, and led by multi-disciplinary research groups. Learn more about how we develop our Spearhead projects.

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Building New Zealand’s innovation capacity

This longitudinal research programme continues over the lifetime of SfTI, examining human capacity (soft skills), and relational capacity (networking skills), within New Zealand’s innovation system.

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Biosecurity Technology

The Biosecurity Technology Spearhead research project is developing a swarm of smart networked sensors that will use Artificial Intelligence to detect the last predators in New Zealand’s vast landscapes.

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Veracity Technology

The Veracity Technology Spearhead research project is looking for data and computer science solutions to an ancient question: How can you verify something is what it appears to be?

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Clean Water Technology for restoring Te Mana o te Wai

A team of multi-disciplinary researchers, in partnership with Māori, iwi, councils and industry are developing new technology for treating wastewater, with a mission to improve freshwater quality and restore the health of our awa (rivers) and streams. 

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Adaptive learning robots to complement the human workforce

Imagine a world where outdoor robots can be trained to work alongside humans in harsh and highly dynamic environments, taking on the risky jobs and protecting human workers. 

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Additive manufacturing and 3D and/or 4D printing of bio-composites

‘Additive’ manufacturing harnesses New Zealand’s natural resources, using biopolymers or plant and wood fibers to create new, more environmentally friendly materials and products. These materials can be used in 3D printing to reduce plastic waste or in new 4D printing that allows what is made to shift and respond in a ‘natural’ way down to the molecular level.

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Te Tātari Raraunga - Analytics to identify and connect successors to whenua

This Spearhead project is creating smart data analytics tools to help track down rightful Māori shareholders to connect them to their land.

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How can the feeling of being kanohi ki te kanohi be created when people are geographically dispersed and in a virtual environment? SfTI researchers have designed and built Ātea, an immersive experience that draws on Māori protocol and world views as well as new technologies. 

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Home and community based care – Type 2 diabetes

Giving control of diabetes care to the patient requires non-invasive, easy to use technology. The aim is to encourage them to more regularly and reliably measure their blood sugar and insulin levels and more easily take the prescribed doses. This project focuses on new needle free sensing and insulin delivery technology to let Type-2 diabetes patients manage their own care with less pain and hassle.

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Inverting electromagnetics – a new way to measure groundwater flow

Groundwater that lies beneath tens of thousands of square kilometres of Aotearoa New Zealand represents one of our most precious natural resources. A team of SfTI researchers have developed electromagnetic sensors that, for the first time, could allow water resource managers to accurately measure the volume and flow of groundwater, and consequently the flow of entrained pollutants.

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Precision farming technologies for aquaculture

This Spearhead project is developing underwater sensors and data communication tools, alongside data analytics to let farmers monitor their ocean farms from their home base.

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