Information from the Request for Funding Applications (RFA) in 2018

Information from the Request for Funding Applications (RFA) in 2018

Last updated 3 March 2021
Last updated 3 March 2021

Entrepreneurial Universities RFA - Round Two (PDF 809 KB) 

Entrepreneurial Universities Outcome Assessment Framework (PDF 703 KB) 

Entrepreneurial Universities RFA Application Form (DOCX 425 KB) 

Entrepreneurial Universities Financial information template (XLSX 139 KB) 

Questions and answers for RFA process

Questions and answers (Q & As) about the Entrepreneurial Universities initiative are listed below.  

May the university’s contribution include overheads for the proportion of the academic’s contribution to the research programme?

A. Yes, the university’s matched contribution can include overheads for the proportion of the academic’s contribution to the research programme. 

Q. Can a successful application, funded through this fund, also be funded by research grants from other government agencies, such as the Endeavour Fund or the ‘Smart Ideas’ investment mechanism from the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, thereby off-setting the university’s 50% contribution? 

A. No. Universities that are successful in the Entrepreneurial Universities (EU) funding rounds are not able to use other government funding, such as research grants, to off-set their contribution to the EU Initiative. EU funding is provided on the condition that successful universities contribute at least an equal amount to the agreed government funding contribution for the successful proposal. It is the responsibility of applicants and their host university to ensure they comply with the conditions of the EU fund and any other government funding they receive. In addition to the funding conditions around the EU initiative, each successful application is associated with defined research activities and the government does not want its EU funding contribution duplicated by funding from other sources/agencies.

Q. Are stipends for an entrepreneurial PhD Student eligible for government funding and does the PhD student need to be from overseas of can they be from New Zealand?

A. Yes, government funding can be used to cover the cost of a stipend for entrepreneurial PhD student. However, the student receiving the stipends must be involved in the Entrepreneurial Universities Research Programme. PhD students can be from either overseas or from New Zealand.

Q. A nominated researcher’s team can be built up with members from the NZ marketplace and not just those he or she might bring with them into NZ. However, are there any restrictions on where those team members may come from?  Can they come from the nominating University where they are currently employed, and can they be available to the new team on a less than fulltime basis?


  • There are no restrictions on where research team members can come from. However, it is preferred that team members are sourced internationally; entire teams cannot come from New Zealand alone; and, locally sourced team members will be considered by exception only. There is also an expectation that overseas team members will relocate to New Zealand, as noted in the RFA.
  • Yes research team members can come from the nominating University where they are currently employed, and can be available to the team on less than a full time basis. Please note that the purpose of the Entrepreneurial Universities (EU) fund is to build New Zealand’s entrepreneurial capability and global competiveness by recruiting high calibre entrepreneurial academics and their research teams from overseas and relocating them here. The fund is not intended to be used to cover the salaries of existing University employees. However, we recognise that in some circumstances it may be appropriate for Universities to utilise current employees who have the right capabilities and experience to deliver the proposed EU research programme. Therefore, the TEC will consider applications where this has been proposed, provided the University can demonstrate:
    • The existing staff member is the right person for the job and has the right mix of skills and experience;
    • the EU research programme that the staff member works on is new to the University;
    • the FTE is apportioned appropriately, i.e. if 0.8 of the FTE is allocated to the EU work programme, they must work on the EU programme for 80% of the time;
    • the position approved to receive funding under the EU initiative is co-funded by the University, the salary of the team member must be the University’s co-funding contribution - the EU funding cannot be directly used for this purpose; and,
    • government funding is only used on the EU research programme and not on business as usual expenses.

Q. Is the Entrepreneurial Universities Fund aimed at nurturing entrepreneurial students, spinning out start-ups, or both?

A. The policy is expected to impact upon both. These entrepreneurial academics undertaking research will not only provide research inspiration and pathways to commercial opportunities but the halo effect will impact on institutional culture, education and activities that will positively influence the next generation of entrepreneurial thinkers coming from universities. There are both short term and long term benefits as well as spill over effects for creating commercial opportunities and developing entrepreneurs. Fundamental to this is the opportunity for New Zealand to bring in global talent to stimulate new and ongoing developments around complex, scientific research. 


Q. Is there a cap on Government contributions per entrepreneurial academic?

A. Successful applicants can seek funding up to $1.5 million per annum to fund each entrepreneurial academic’s research programme. Government funding will at least be matched or exceeded by the university contribution, with the quantum and nature of the university contribution considered in assessing value for money. 

Q. Can in-kind contributions be included in the university contributions? i.e. time that comes into the project/resources/partners involved in the programme?

A. Yes, in-kind contributions can be included and will be assessed as part of the overall contribution. To ensure that such in-kind contribution can be assessed by the panel as part of the overall application, all contributions need to be clearly detailed and quantified in part B of the application.

The costs eligible for Government funding through the Entrepreneurial Universities initiative are those costs which can uniquely and unambiguously be identified to execute the proposed research programme. The applicant should determine how to apply this criterion, bearing in mind that the composition of the budget will be taken into consideration in the TEC assessment of value for money.

Please see section 6 of the RFA. 

Q. In regards to the 7 months requirement to be in New Zealand - could this mean the academic is just being funded for 7 months?

A. No, the academic must be physically present in New Zealand for a minimum of 7 months a year. 

Q. If you want to recruit an academic, is the 7 months residency restriction just around the one specified academic, and could involve a team that is based fully offshore? Or does it include the broader research programme?

A. There is only the requirement for the specified academic to be onshore for 7 months. We understand that there may be individuals involved in the programme who are offshore but are still involved in the programme, who are not subject to the same criteria around the time required to be spent in New Zealand. 

Q. Given that the benefits of the initiative may take 10-15 years to follow, can we assume that the outputs/outcomes may be more towards research outcomes rather than economic outcomes?

A. In the current draft of the Performance Monitoring Framework, we have worked through short term outcomes through to long term outcomes. We recognise that long term outcomes are difficult to measure and clear causation is difficult, particularly when social impact is attempting to be assessed. While long term measures cannot be assessed in the early years, we would expect some form of qualitative data, narrative or logic on how the programme is heading towards achieving these longer term outcomes.  

Q. What will the initiative do?

A. The Entrepreneurial Universities initiative is 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.

Q. Why is the Government establishing this initiative?

A. 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.

Q. How much funding is available?

A. Budget 2016 allocated $35 million over four years for this initiative: Approximately $2.5 million for the first year and $10 million in each subsequent year, as well as out-year funding. Applicants may apply for up to $1.5 million per annum for 3-4 years. Funding will be non-SAC funding.

Q. Who will be eligible for the fund?

A. All New Zealand universities will be eligible to submit applications for the funding.

Q. How will applicants be selected?

A. Following the closure of the Request for Funding Applications, all applications will be evaluated by a panel of experts. Evaluation will include individual assessments followed by a group assessment and moderation workshop.

Q. When will funding be made available?

A. Funding for the initiative will be made available from 2017. 

Q. What can the government funding be used for?

A. Funding will be available to support academics to undertake research, and innovative and collaborative activity with industry. Government funding cannot be used to meet overhead or capital costs.

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

A. 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 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.