We are calling for proposals now, closing 20 March, 2020! Seed research projects

Kaupapa kākano

SfTI is calling for project proposals to initiate new Seed projects from 1 July 2020. More information on eligibility, and how to apply can be found below, and within our Call for Proposals 2020 document:

SfTI is calling for Seed Project Fund proposals. Applications close March 20. 

Please note, there have been some key changes to previous funding rounds:

Priority will be given to proposals:

  • aligned with the Data Science and Data Technologies (DSDT) or Sensors, Robotics & Automation (SRA) themes
  • with a team (including the Principal Investigator) of emerging researchers and;
  • Vision Mātauranga (VM) aligned research.

Researchers currently funded within other SfTI projects, are not eligible for funded involvement in Seed projects.

National Q&A webinar

We will be hosting a national webinar for researchers interested in applying. The purpose of the webinar is to answer your questions about the CfP document. There are two dates that you can join us: 

Monday, 17 February, 2 pm 

Join from PC, Mac, iOS or Android here.    
Note: The web browser plug-in will download automatically. Or you can manually download the Zoom client here.  

Or join by phone:         
   +64 800 002 260 (New Zealand Toll Free)    
   +64 (0) 9 801 1188 (New Zealand Toll)    

Meeting ID: 299 074 492
International numbers available here.

Tuesday, 18 February, 11 am    

Join from PC, Mac, iOS or Android here.
Note: The web browser plug-in will download automatically. Or you can manually download the Zoom client here.   
Or join by phone:         
   +64 800 002 260 (New Zealand Toll Free)    
   +64 (0) 9 801 1188 (New Zealand Toll)    

Meeting ID: 362 114 409     
International numbers available here.   

If the links are not working for you, please contact the Massey University Service Desk (06) 356 9099 ext 82111 for assistance.

FAQs: You can also find answers to some proposal criteria questions here.

About the Seed project fund

The Seed project fund is intended to bring in new ideas and new researchers to the SfTI community. Our Seed projects are smaller, high risk, technically complex, projects based on ideas developed by researchers themselves.

We prioritise emerging researchers (up to 7 years full-time equivalent in active research), as well as Vision Mātauranga (VM) aligned research. You can learn more about VM and the principles we use to assess the proposals within the Call for Proposals 2020 document.

Funding availiable

We have $3 million to invest (about 15 new projects) in the upcoming 2020 Seed Project round. Seed projects are funded for up to two years with a maximum of $200,000 per project. Since 2016 SfTI has funded 54 Seed projects, with funding rounds typically held every year. 

Read about previously funded projects here or find out more about our current Seed project researchers on the ‘Meet the researchers’ page.


We welcome project proposals from researchers at New Zealand based organisations, with research capability relevant to SfTI’s research themes: Sensors, Robotics and Automation; Data Science and Digital Technologies; and Materials, Manufacturing Technology and Design. Learn more about our themes and leaders here.

Researchers currently funded within other SfTI projects are not eligible for funded involvement in Seed projects, though unfunded personnel with relevant involvement are eligible.

Project proposal guidelines

The project proposal must demonstrate the following aspects:

  • Stretch science (clever, risky, complex), and/or address a potentially disruptive technology area.
  • Focus on physical sciences and engineering research aspects although the context of the project may be in another field e.g. health, biological sciences, food processing or business. 
  • Make a strong case for the New Zealand context and niche, and if successful, a contribution to New Zealand’s future economic growth.

Apply now!

Applications can be made through MBIE's portal. You will need an account to login, if you do not have a account, please refer to your institution's Research Office, they can set one up for you, as well as manage your proposal submission.

Key dates and process

  1. 2020 CfP released ­– mid December 2019
  2. MBIE portal opens for applications –  31 January 2020. 
  3. National webinar CfP open Q&A session –  Monday February 17, 2pm and Tuesday February 18, 11am 2020. 
  4. Applications close – 12 noon Friday, 20 March 2020
  5. Initial screening for eligibility – end March 2020
  6. Panel assessment of proposals – April to mid-May 2020
  7. Successful applicants are notified and contract negotiations begin – early June 2020

Previously funded projects: 2016-19

Further information

Find out more about how to consider Vision Mātauranga in your proposal by watching a short video featuring our Manager for Vision Mātauranga and Capacity Development, Dr Willy-John Martin here.  

Plus, take a look at the below short video, Ten Tips on making a great Seed Project Fund Application:

In this video, find about how to make a great Seed Project Fund application. 

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