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Participatory Science Platform

This initiative supports collaborative, community projects that bring together locals and scientists or technologists on research investigating a locally-important question or problem.

Funding news:

Otago

The Otago PSP is now inviting proposals for 2018 funding. All applications are due by 12 noon, Thursday 15 March 2018.

South Auckland

The South Auckland PSP is seeking applications for 2018. All proposals are due by June 2018.

Taranaki

The Taranaki PSP has just opened it's fourth funding round. All proposals for 2018 projects are due by 5pm, Thursday 15 March 2018.

View the application process >>

What is the Participatory Science Platform?

All New Zealanders should feel encouraged and equipped to deal with the challenges and opportunities presented by science and technology, and be capable of participating in the debates involving science. We also need an environment that helps New Zealanders to use our natural curiosity to interrogate, decide on and make the most of new developments and technologies.

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 and have robust science/technology outputs with quality learning outcomes.

It brings together the three key action areas outlined in the plan A Nation of Curious Minds - He Whenua Hiriri I Te Mahara.

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Our Actions

What we're doing towards our ten-year goal for enabling better connectivity and engagement between science, technology and society.

Read about our goal and actions

Going beyond citizen science

Participatory science is a method of undertaking scientific research where volunteers can be meaningfully involved in the development and progression of locally relevant research projects with science and technology professionals. It goes beyond the idea of scientists’ crowd-sourcing their data, and builds a true partnership between the scientists or technologists and the broader community. 

The PSP builds on the popularity of citizen science, but re-balances the lay person/scientist relationship through a highly collaborative approach. Through the PSP, we fund projects that:

      • are collaborative research projects that have scientific or technological value, pedagogical rigour (quality teaching and learning) and resonate with the community;
      • engage students, kura, schools, businesses, Māori collectives and organisations, and community-based organisations with science and technology professionals; 
      • offer researchers opportunities to become involved in locally relevant lines of enquiry, where high-quality scientific or technological outputs can be created through harnessing the local knowledge and contribution of citizens;
      • offer inspiring and relevant learning and development opportunities for science and technology teachers and students; and 
      • engage learners and participants beyond the school/kura community to reach parents, whānau and wider communities.

Wetacover

Projects: Participatory Science Platform

See the different kinds of collaborative community research projects that have been funded through the Participatory Science Platform.

Find projects supported by the Participatory Science Platform

The application process

How does the PSP work?

Since 2015, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has been running a pilot of the Participatory Science Platform (PSP) in three areas:

  • South Auckland
  • Taranaki
  • Otago

These three regions were chosen because they are three distinctly different areas of the country with different audiences. 

The goal of the pilot is to test the platform concept in these different local environments, including the process for seeking and progressing ideas and to provide information about the administrative and operational resource requirements in different environments. These will all inform any future actions to come out of the pilot.

MBIE has appointed a Pilot Area Lead (PAL) in each area. Their responsibilities include providing support and guidance to research project participants in the pilot areas at all stages of the project, from the identification and matching of project parties to supporting project implementation.

The National Coordinator - who works within the Office for the Prime Minister's Chief Science Advisor- has established collaborative working relationships with the Pilot Area Leads and provides:

      • a national coordination point between the three PALs; 
      • support and guidance to the PALS in carrying out their responsibilities and oversight of progress in each pilot area; 
      • quality assurance for proposed research projects in each pilot area; and 
      • support and guidance in the evaluation of the pilot in each area.

Unlike Unlocking Curious Minds, the PSP funding application process is not managed directly by MBIE. 
The Pilot Area Leads are responsible for assessing applications for project funding and allocating funding to projects that best meet the assessment criteria.

What kind of funding is given?

Research project participants will be able to apply to pilot area leads for grants of up to $20,000 (excl GST), which are intended to partially fund a project.

It is expected that approximately six or more projects will be funded in each Pilot Area per year. 

In Taranaki and Otago, a limited number of small 'seed funds' are available to support application development (Taranaki) or for applicants to plan together and progress the research question, data collection, analysis and knowledge translation strategy for the project (Otago). The seed fund is only awarded at the discretion of the Pilot Area Lead and does not guarantee receiving the PSP project grant (all applicants must go through the same contestable process).

Who can apply and what makes a project eligible?

Either the community or science sector based partner in research project collaboration may apply for funding. Community based parties include community groups/organisations/schools/businesses and Māori collectives.

Applicants and projects must be based within or have access to one of the three Pilot Areas. For South Auckland, the Pilot Area is defined as the region included in the general electorates of Papakura, Mangere, Manurewa, Manukau East, Botany, Pakuranga, Maungakiekie and Mt Roskill. Taranaki and Otago are bounded by their respective regional council boundaries.

What can I use the funding for?

Research project funding can be used to part-fund science professionals and community groups/schools/businesses/Māori collectives and organisations to plan together and progress the research project. This includes the research question/s, data collection methods, engagement plan, data analysis plan and knowledge translation strategy for the project (i.e. travel, meetings and liaison costs). In addition, eligible costs could include research tools or consumables related to progressing a project that would not otherwise be accessible to community partners.

Funding may be used to enhance an existing or ongoing research project (which has local relevance and support) with a community collaboration element. In this case community partners must be fully integrated into the research project, including becoming engaged in guiding the research questions, collecting the data and disseminating the results.

What can't I use the funding for?

      • an existing research project where the status quo is proposed; 
      • activities that are part of a project participant’s usual programme of outreach and public engagement; 
      • preparation, publication and distribution of pamphlets, magazines, books, websites, CDs and DVDs, other than those prepared to promote an event or project; 
      • projects that compete with, or duplicate initiatives already part of the Curious Minds strategic plan (refer Annex 4 in the plan) or other existing initiatives; or 
      • capital expenditure other than research tools or consumables related to progressing a project that would not otherwise be accessible to community partners.

Where can I check for similar projects already funded?

This website's Projects section is a searchable repository that hosts summaries of all the projects funded through the Participatory Science Platform to date :

Wetacover

Projects: Participatory Science Platform

See the different kinds of collaborative community research projects that have been funded through the Participatory Science Platform.

Find projects supported by the Participatory Science Platform

Where do I apply for funding?

The Pilot Area Leads (PALs) are responsible for assessing applications for project funding and allocating funding to projects that best meet the assessment criteria.

The timings and processes for the call-for-proposals and application all differ for each region. You can find this information on the PAL websites (links below).

South Auckland

SouthSci is the South Auckland Participatory Science Platform. It is managed by Sarah Morgan.

Sarah works at COMET Auckland (Community Education Trust Auckland), a council-controlled organisation of Auckland Council and independent charitable trust that is the PAL for South Auckland. 

For more information on applying for funding in South Auckland, visit the SouthSci website or email Sarah on sarah.morgan@cometauckland.org.nz

Taranaki

Curious Minds is the Taranaki Participatory Science Platform. It is managed by Joshua Richardson.

Joshua works at Venture Taranaki Trust, the regional development agency for Taranaki. Its role is to boost the Taranaki economy through regional business and economic development. The Taranaki Regional Council is partnering with Venture Taranaki Trust to lead the platform pilot in Taranaki.

For more information on applying for funding in Taranaki, visit the Curious Minds page on the Venture Taranaki website or email Joshua on josh@venture.org.nz

Otago 

Otago Science into Action is the Otago Participatory Science Platform. It is managed by Craig Grant.

Craig Grant works at Otago Museum, which is one of five partners that jointly support The Otago Museum Trust Board as the PAL for Otago Science into Action. The other partners are Ngāi Tahu, the University of Otago, Otago Polytechnic and the New Zealand International Science Festival.

For more information on applying for funding in Otago, visit the Otago Science into Action website or email Craig on craig.grant@otagomuseum.nz

How is my application processed?

Each of the Pilot Area Leads (PALs) has established a process specific to their region to assess applications. This ensures that we avoid any actual, potential, or perceived conflicts of interest when funding applications are being assessed.

PALs allocate funding to projects that best meet the assessment criteria agreed between them, the National Coordinator, and MBIE. The National Coordinator provides quality assurance for proposed research projects in each pilot area.

The final decision on the allocation of funding for each region is made by that region's PAL. The PALs are responsible for contracting and distributing funding to projects. 

If you are successful in your funding application, the PAL in your region will contact you and they will take it from there.

Who should I contact about funding my project?

You should contact your region's Pilot Area Lead if you have any queries about your project:

South Auckland

Sarah Morgan at COMET Auckland manages the South Auckland PSP. 
Her email address is: sarah.morgan@cometauckland.org.nz.

Taranaki

Joshua Richardson at Venture Taranaki manages the Taranaki PSP.
His email address is: josh@venture.org.nz.

Otago

Craig Grant at Otago Museum manages the Otago PSP.
His email address is: craig.grant@otagomuseum.nz.

What happens if my project gets funded?

If you are successful in your funding application, the PAL in your region will contact you. They will guide you on what to do next.

Who should I contact about promoting my project?

In the first instance, you should contact your Pilot Area Lead. They will then put you in touch with the right people for sharing a story about your project or promoting your project-related events.

Further information

If you have any queries that cannot be answered by the Pilot Area Leads, you may contact the National Coordinator or the Senior Investment Manager at MBIE:

National Coordinator:

Victoria Metcalf
victoria.metcalf@pmcsa.org.nz
027 809 4028

MBIE:

Nicola Jenkin
Senior Investment Manager, MBIE
curiousminds@mbie.govt.nz

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