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The SfTI Challenge is based upon four areas of capability, or 'Themes'. These are broad, multidisciplinary research topics that potentially span many different applications and industry sectors.

The Themes are:

  • Vision Mātauranga
  • Materials, manufacturing and design
  • Sensors, robotics and automation
  • IT, data analytics and modelling.


Vision Mātauranga - Whakakitenga Mātauranga

Theme leader – Kāhui Kaihautu Te Taka Keegan.

Vision Mātauranga guides researchers on how to integrate western science with mātauranga Māori (knowledge) to explore new opportunities to build a prosperous, technology-driven economy.


Materials, manufacturing and design - Ngā matū, te whakanao me te hoahoa

Theme leader – Don Cleland.

New Zealand has a small, vibrant hi-technology processing and manufacturing sector. This Theme aims to advance the sector’s reputation as a leader in smart, green, manufacturing processes and materials.

These lead to products, services and processes that position New Zealand’s brand well in premium export markets.

Research includes:

  • advancing knowledge of existing materials – and developing new ones – that build on New Zealand’s unique expertise, flora and fauna
  • improving manufacturing and processing technologies to enhance sustainability and/or produce new products
  • using advanced design thinking at all stages of product, service, and process development.


Sensors, robotics and automation - Ngā Pūoko, karetao me te aunoatanga

Theme leader – Bruce MacDonald.

This Theme aims to develop robotics and automation for use in a  wide range of products and applications.

The focus is on cost reduction, improved efficiencies, improved safety in dangerous environments, and undertaking tasks which wouldn’t be economically viable otherwise.


IT, data analytics and modelling - Hangarau Mōhiohio, te tātari raraunga me te whakatauira

Theme leader – Stephen MacDonell.

Developing innovative models, methods, tools and practices for new or enhanced business processes, hardware components, systems and software applications is the focus of this Theme, particularly enabling industry to customise and turn these technologies into economically valuable products and services.


Latest news and updates

Meet the researchers: Renee Goreham

Renee is one of our SfTI researchers. She grew up in rural Australia and moved to New Zealand in 2016 with her husband Rich, and her children Ella (6) and Evan (3).

INNOVATE December 2018

We are wrapping up for 2018! 

Read December's INNOVATE: the Science for Technological Innovation Challenge newsletter

Professor welcomes National Science Challenge boost

Victoria University of Wellington's Professor Sally Davenport, Director of the Science for Technological Innovation (SfTI) National Science Challenge, has welcomed a $72.7 million funding boost from the Government.