Entrepreneurial Universities

Entrepreneurial Universities

Last updated 2 November 2016
Last updated 11/02/2016

As part of the Innovative New Zealand package in Budget 2016, the Government has allocated $35 million over four years for the Entrepreneurial Universities initiative.


Who applies: Universities

Agreed through:  Contract (off Plan)

The initiative will establish a competitive fund for co-investment with universities to attract world-leading entrepreneurial academics to New Zealand, leveraging their skills and experience to drive:

  • cutting-edge research to grow New Zealand’s competitive advantage
  • university-led innovation and entrepreneurship in existing and emerging industries
  • commercially-relevant research that fosters industry collaboration and strengthens economic growth, and
  • stronger connections with overseas universities, research institutes and businesses.

The Entrepreneurial Universities initiative will complement other initiatives in higher education and research, supporting our universities’ commitment to innovation and enterprise.

Once established, the Entrepreneurial Universities Fund will be allocated in accordance with the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment’s funding mechanism, to be issued under section 159L of the Education Act 1989. Funding will be determined through a contestable process, and allocated and monitored through a funding arrangement with the TEC.

Find out more

Further information on the initiative and selection process will be released soon.

If you have any questions in the meantime you can contact your Investment Manager
or email eui@tec.govt.nz.

You can also refer to:

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the Entrepreneurial Universities initiative and our answers to them. These will be updated regularly.

More information about the initiative and selection process will be released soon.

If you have other questions in the meantime, please contact your Investment Manager  or email eui@tec.govt.nz

What will the initiative do?

The Entrepreneurial Universities initiative will establish a competitive fund to enable universities to recruit world-leading academics with entrepreneurial and commercial capability to stimulate increased innovation and entrepreneurship in the university sector. This will grow New Zealand’s scientific excellence in a way that complements other initiatives in higher education.

Why is the government establishing this initiative?

New Zealand universities are already engaging in valuable initiatives to increase New Zealand’s overall innovation capability and performance. An increasingly innovation-led economy creates more opportunities to partner with commercial sector research towards shared objectives. This initiative is designed to stimulate this process through recruiting world-leading entrepreneurial researchers who will build stronger and more relevant links with existing and emerging industries and firms. It is part of a wider package to grow universities’ leadership role in innovation and entrepreneurship across New Zealand.

How much funding is available?

Budget 2016 allocated $35 million over four years for this initiative: Approximately $5 million for the first year and $10 million in each subsequent year, as well as out-year funding. The amount and length of funding for each successful proposal is yet to be determined. Funding will be non-SAC funding.

Who will be eligible for the fund?

All New Zealand universities will be eligible to submit proposals for the competitive funding round.

How will applicants be selected?

We will run a competitive selection process. All proposals will be evaluated by a panel of experts. Further details of this process will be announced following stakeholder consultation.

When will funding be made available?

Funding for the initiative will be made available from 2017. Successful proposals are expected to be established throughout 2017.

What can the funding be used for?

Funding will be available to support academics to undertake research, and innovative and collaborative activity with industry. Information on funding parameters will be released as part of the competitive process.

Why is this initiative focused on the recruitment of overseas researchers?

Overseas researchers will add to New Zealand’s existing talent pool, growing research expertise in key areas where we are poised to become a world leader. They will bring fresh perspectives and experiences to generate new ideas across the wider university faculty. Scientists from overseas also bring with them embedded international networks to inform directions of research in New Zealand university departments.

Internationally-connected, world-leading research has been shown to attract and stimulate world-leading firms and start-ups. For example, Singapore, Ireland and, recently, the University of New South Wales in Australia are all operating or launching initiatives of this nature, and are reporting positive impact.