Faculty of Science - Leading creativity and innovation in the sciences

Request for proposals | closes 12 noon, Tuesday, 23 October 2018

The Request for Proposals (RfP) provides an opportunity for researchers at the University of Auckland and colleagues to seed projects and support students that enhance the aims of the George Mason Centre for the Natural Environment (GMCNE).

Projects will be selected on the criteria specified below. The Expert Advisory Panel will also be looking to identify and foster the connection between projects that lead to thematic research to expanded funding opportunities for research and application.

The GMCNE funds provide you with an opportunity to think about doing research you would not normally have a chance to do.  It is an opportunity to extend and link your research to foster a wider capacity and capability in finding solutions to environmental problems.

Research funds

Research funds enable GMCNE investigators to take advantage of exciting new ideas that require interdisciplinary research to support solutions to environmental challenges, while simultaneously building links across the GMCNE’s network, especially between institutions.

Through the George Mason Scholars initiative there is also the opportunity to build capacity in solution focused interdisciplinary environmental research. Workshops or think-tanks offer the opportunity to bring together researchers from within New Zealand and overseas to shed new light on vexing environmental problems or unaddressed directions.

The GMCNE will help to identify new solutions and to draw public attention to the role of the GMCNE, academe and interdisciplinary science in contributing solutions to restoration, conservation and sustainability challenges in our natural environment.

The underlying theme for all proposals should align with supporting Environmental Restoration – Conservation – Sustainability.   Areas of Research may include but not be exclusive to:

  • Environmental Change (developing techniques for monitoring, forecasting and analysing change and environmental future scenario development)
  • Hilltops-Ocean (restoration, ecosystem services, flows and implications for integrative management, cumulative effects)
  • Resilience (tipping points and bottlenecks to restoration)
  • Socio-ecological systems (citizen science, governance-science-society, psychology, education, investment, new economies)
  • Emerging technologies for the environment (Green Chemistry, sampling technologies, monitoring and mapping, models)
  • Plastic pollution: ecological effects, particle transport, breakdown, environmental and engineering solutions
  • The principles of Vision Mātauranga particularly Taiao, achieving Environmental Sustainability through iwi and hapū relationships with land and sea

Assessment criteria

All projects should be strategically aligned with the vision and aims of the GMCNE, although there is flexibility to cover outstanding new opportunities.

Opportunities to link projects within the GMCNE and into broader research and societal networks are encouraged. All working expenses provided for collaborative projects should be aligned with available support and post-graduate students, thereby enhancing the training environment for post-graduate students across the University and other institutions.

Research projects will be assessed by the GMCNE Expert Advisory Group, and international/independent reviewers as appropriate.  The assessment of proposals will focus on the following:

  • Project Alignment: Projects must relate to the conservation, restoration and sustainability themes of the GMCNE
  • Affecting Change: Research must have the potential to demonstrate impact and accelerate change
  • Interdisciplinary Approach: Evidence of interdisciplinary research (projects demonstrating involvement of researchers in more than one discipline)
  • Scientific Merit: Knowledge development; rigor and merit
  • Building Connections: Evidence of building connections and synergies
  • Expansion: Evidence of potential pathway to expansion of research

Overall, the GMCNE Expert Advisory Group will prioritise projects where it is clear how the project advances the GMCNE, and lead to potential connections across the GMCNE and broader research and community networks that enhance the potential to attract further research support.  A key factor the GMCNE will consider in determining the potential value of the proposed collaboration is whether it is likely to establish innovative research that supports the vision, aims, & purpose of the GMCNE.

Projects available

An individual project can be submitted with any combination of the above types of funding.  The Expert Advisory Group reserves the right to negotiate with relevant PIs over project costs and potentially seek to combine them into larger solutions-focused programmes.

A total of $750,000 is available in this round, with that sum in total spread over up to 3 years.

Successful projects will be funded from 15 January 2019 and run for the appropriate time period from this date.

The GMCNE invites applications in 2018 for:

Seed projects


Up to $10,000 to cover research expenses for one year (including travel, equipment etc. but not salary or buyout)

PhD scholarships


$27,000 stipend pa for 3 years plus fees as per UoA scholarship (Including Insurance)

MSc fees scholarship


$7,000 p.a. for fees

Postdoctoral fellowships


Salary for 2 years (please include CV)



Up to $ 25,000 for one year

Please Note:

  • For student supervision, the primary supervisor must be a UoA investigator.  If a primary supervisor is listed as the primary on more than one MSc or PhD scholarship application, in this round, then only one application will be funded. If more than one application is considered by the Expert Advisory Group as fundable, then the Director will consult with the investigator to determine which application should be awarded funding. New and existing students (i.e. new or in their 1st, 2nd, 3rd year of study) are all eligible.
  • Projects can be submitted with or without a named student or PDF. If a suitable student or PDF is not named and the project is approved, a timeframe within which a suitable student should be identified will be indicated in the approval letter, usually a period of six months.
  • The GMCNE is committed to ensuring representation of the Maori and Pacific Island communities amongst its trainees. Applications for support of students from these groups are encouraged.
  • Once funded, researchers should expect to provide reports to the GMCNE Centre to meet requirements of the Governance group; support media and other outreach; contribute to and build networks to expand funding and activities of the GMCNE.


Key Dates for 2018

Key Dates For 2018

RfP issued

17 September 2018

RfP Workshop

28 September 1-2pm

RfP closing date

12 Noon, 23 October 2018


23-30 October 2018

Results Announced 

Mid December 2018

Project start date after

15 January 2019


Application form

Please submit your completed application form as a PDF via email to gmcne@auckland.ac.nz by 12 Noon, Tuesday 23 October 2018. Include GMCNE Application and the PI name in the email subject.


A workshop for potential applicants will be held on Friday 28 September 1-2pm (in Room 302-G20).

This is a drop-in session where Simon Thrush (Director of the GMCNE) and researchers currently working on GMCNE projects will discuss and answer questions on how best to apply and what to include in your application.


Amy Weir, Research Programme Coordinator, gmcne@auckland.ac.nz

Should your project be funded, the GMCNE Research Programme Coordinator will contact you to arrange a funding agreement for the research.

Applicants will be notified as to whether or not they have been successful within one month of submitting the application.

Grants will be paid directly to the student through the relevant department.