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Overview of the application and assessment process

Information on our annual funding round process, at a glance


The Marsden Fund supports investigator-initiated research in science, engineering, maths, social sciences and the humanities in New Zealand.  The Fund does not provide fellowships but rather delivers grants for discrete projects for researchers employed at universities, Crown Research Institutes, private research organisations or as private individuals.  Proposals are assessed primarily on merit and the potential of the research to contribute to the advancement of knowledge, as detailed in the Terms of Reference for the Marsden Fund.

The call for applications is made annually in November / December and the initial closing date for applications is late February.

Three categories of grants are available:

  • Fast-Start grants come from a special pool of funds set aside for emerging researchers (up to seven years after the conferment of their PhD).  Funding is set at NZ$120,000 (excluding GST) per year for three years. There is a two-stage application process.
  • Standard grants are open to established researchers as well as emerging researchers.  Funding is for three years and the amount of funding is flexible, depending on the research discipline and project needs. There is a two-stage application process.
  • Marsden Fund Council Awards are open to established as well as emerging researchers. This is a new category, especially for interdisciplinary research. Funding is for three years and is capped at $1 million per year (exc GST). There is a one-stage application process, with a two-stage assessment process.

Fast-Start and Standard applications are assessed simultaneously and closing dates are the same (see the funding round timetable).

Fast-Start and Standard proposals are reviewed in a two-stage process:

  1. The Expression of Interest round is open to all eligible New Zealand based researchers.
  2. Selected applicants are then invited to submit a full proposal.

The closing date for Marsden Fund Council Award applications is the same as for the Fast-Start and Standard Expression of Interest deadline.