We are all curious about the world around us, and even more so when it involves our own backyard.

Venture Taranaki is helping turn your questions into research action with Curious Minds Taranaki

Venture Taranaki delivers Curious Minds Taranaki to help foster innovation in our region, which supports our enterprises to innovate and Taranaki to achieve its strategic goals of prosperity, restored/regenerative environment, and inclusive growth.

We provide funding, support, and expertise to community groups to undertake collaborative locally relevant research tackling problems and questions that matter to them.

Curious Minds Taranaki is a Participatory Science Platform (PSP) delivered locally by Venture Taranaki in collaboration with Taranaki Regional Council and funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

What is the Participatory Science Platform?

The Participatory Science Platform (PSP) is a world-first initiative that aims to engage communities of all kinds in research projects that are locally relevant with quality learning outcomes and have robust science/technology practices.

PSP is part of ‘A Nation of Curious Minds, He Whenua Hihiri I Te Mahara: a National Strategic Plan for Science in Society’ (2014). The plan recognises that everyone in Aotearoa New Zealand should feel encouraged and equipped to engage in the key questions facing our society now and in the future. The plan has three core outcomes for which PSP delivers on:

  • More science and technology competent learners, and more choosing STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths, Mātauranga) related career pathways
  • A more scientifically and technologically engaged public and a more publicly engaged science sector
  • A more skilled workforce and more responsive science and technology sector

What are we looking for?

Curious Minds Taranaki funds collaborative research projects that engage community-based organisations, students, kura, schools, Māori collectives and organisations, and businesses with science, technology and mātauranga professionals.

Project must meet the following core criteria:

  • Educationally valuable - offering enduring educational value and two-way learning for those involved.
  • Locally relevant- involves community members in research that is engaging and locally relevant and at least in part be driven by community-based champions.
  • Scientifically robust - tackling a substantive scientific question in active partnership with science, technology or mātauranga experts.

What types of funding are available?

Project Funding

Research professionals and community groups can apply for up to $20,000 excl. GST. Project funding can be used to undertake your research project, including data collection and analysis, as well as implementation and sharing of new knowledge in the community.

Seed Funding

Community groups can apply for up to $1,000 excl. GST of seed funding. The purpose of seed funding is to support groups to develop their applications. Specifically seed funding is to be used to allow community groups to access expertise that is otherwise unavailable to them.

What can the funding be used for?

Curious Minds Taranaki project funding can be used to part-fund science, technology and mātauranga research professionals and community-based organisations, students, kura, schools, Māori collectives and organisations, and businesses to work collaboratively on a research project.

Project funding can be used to enhance a new or existing research project (which has local relevance and support) with a community-focused element. Eligible costs include personnel time for specialist knowledge, coordination and teacher release, research tools or consumables, travel and meeting costs, and other expenditure related to taking a project forward that would not otherwise be accessible to community partners.

Seed funding can be used to help a community group access expertise otherwise not accessible to help develop research question(s), data collection methods, engagement plan, data analysis plan and knowledge translation strategy for the project (for example travel, meetings, and liaison costs).

Who can apply?

Either the community or research partner in the project collaboration may apply for funding so long as the eligibility criteria are met. Any type of community group that has an IRD number is able to apply - these may include community-based organisations, kura, schools, Māori collectives and organisations, or businesses.  

View current projects and case studies

60 projects have been funded throughout Taranaki since 2015. Find out more about current projects and recent case studies.

See projects

Do you have a great idea for a collaborative community based science, technology or mātauranga research project in Taranaki? We want to hear from you!

  • Thomas Adams, Programme Coordinator
Register your idea