Learn more about applying for an Envirolink grant.

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Available grants

Three types of grants are available:

  • Small advice grants (up to $5,000 per grant excluding GST). Eligible regional councils may obtain an expert consultation with a research organisation to help them identify their information needs, receive advice on science techniques or meet training requirements.
  • Medium advice grants (up to $20,000 per grant excluding GST). Eligible regional councils may obtain a detailed expert consultation for discrete projects, or for the second phase of an initial small grant project. The aim of this grant is to help councils apply existing knowledge held by scientists on regional environmental issues.
  • Large advice grants (up to $40,000 per grant excluding GST). All regional councils can benefit but the proposals must be submitted by one of the smaller eligible regional councils and have application to more than one council.
  • Tools development. Funding to develop or adapt new and/or existing resource management tools for use by more than one council. This component of the scheme is open to all councils.

Eligible councils and unitary authorities for advice grants

Nine regional councils and unitary authorities are eligible to apply for Envirolink advice grants:

Small advice grants

Small advice grants fund research organisations to provide regional councils with an initial expert consultation to assess their information, science techniques and/or training requirement needs (up to $5,000 per grant excluding GST). The aim of this grant is to help councils apply and utilise existing environmental knowledge.

How to apply for a small advice grant

Regional councils interested in applying for a small advice grant should first check they meet the eligibility criteria.

The request must:

  • be led by at least one of the nine specified regional councils that are able to apply for advice grants
  • be seeking scientific or technical advice relating to environmental management
  • demonstrate the intention of creating a positive environmental outcome
  • not be a routine task that a council would perform as part of its statutory role and/or as part of normal business management.

If eligible, council staff then need to complete a small advice grant application form. You can download this form below in both word and pdf format.

Envirolink small advice grant application form

Council staff can request assistance from their Envirolink coordinator to fill out the application form.

After receiving a small advice grant request from a council, research organisations must check that the application meets the MBIE's eligibility criteria for small advice grants. If the criteria are met and the researcher is able to provide the necessary advice, consultation may begin.

Help on submitting or assessing an application

Regional councils who would like help submitting their application can contact the councils' Envirolink Coordinator for advice and assistance.

Research organisations should direct any enquiries to  MBIE's envirolink contact.

Once a small advice grant has been approved

Once the research organisation has provided the regional council with advice, the research organisation needs to fill out the small advice grants report template and send this electronically to  MBIE.

NOTE: This report must be submitted according to the small advice grant report template. 

Every quarter, the research organisation must submit all reports for that quarter along with the regional council's applications and a combined invoice. Once MBIE has received these documents, the research organisation will be paid up to $5,000 (excluding GST) for each advice provided.

Medium advice grants

Medium advice grants fund research organisations to provide regional councils with detailed expert consultation for discrete projects, or to complete the second phase of an initial small grant project (up to $20,000 per grant excluding GST). The aim of this grant is to provide regional councils with detailed advice to help them apply and utilise existing environmental knowledge.

How to apply for a medium advice grant

If interested in applying for a medium advice grant, regional councils should first check they meet the eligibility criteria.

The request must:

  • be led by at least one of the nine specified regional councils that are able to apply for advice grants
  • be seeking scientific or technical advice relating to environmental management
  • demonstrate the intention of creating a positive environmental outcome
  • not be a routine task that a council would perform as part of its statutory role and/or as part of normal business management.

If eligible, council staff then need to complete an application form for medium advice grants. Council staff can request assistance from their Envirolink coordinator  to fill out the application form.

When the application form has been completed by the council, in consultation with their partner research provider, the form is submitted by the envirolink coordinator to the Envirolink Governance Committee and selected research organisation. The form must be submitted electronically to the Envirolink Coordinator for assessment. Assessment takes up to three weeks.

Medium Advice Grant application form.

The grant application form is used by MBIE staff to assess suitability for funding against the assessment criteria for medium advice grants

Help on submitting or assessing an application

Regional councils that would like help submitting their application can contact the Envirolink Coordinator for advice and assistance. Research organisations should direct any enquiries to MBIE's Envirolink Contact.

Once a medium advice grant has been approved

If the application is approved, the Envirolink Coordinator will contact the regional council and research organisation so that consultation can begin.

When consultation ends, the research organisation should complete the medium advice grants report template in Word (below) and send it electronically to MBIE.

Envirolink medium advice grant report form

If a medium advice grant is not approved

If the grant request does not satisfy the criteria, the Envirolink Coordinator will provide feedback to the council and the research organisation.

In some cases, the Envirolink Coordinator may work with the council and research organisation to see whether the proposal can be amended and resubmitted for assessment.

Large advice grants

Large advice grants are similar to medium advice grants but need to benefit more than one council, including larger councils (up to $40,000 per grant excluding GST).

Envirolink large advice grant report form

Tool development

Tool development funding is used to support development and adaptation of natural resource and environmental management tools for use by all regional councils and unitary authorities.

These tools may be physical technologies or something more conceptual, such as a formalised or systematic approach to problem solving or analysis.

The process is as follows:

Step one Councils collectively submit to MBIE a prioritised list of resource management tools to be funded each year.
Step two Research organisations and regional councils submit a proposal for each tool approved on the list.
Step three Once a proposal has been accepted, the research organisation signs a contract with MBIE and the tool project begins.

 

Tool process flowchart including timeline

Step one: Councils agree on a prioritised list of tools

In October, a prioritised list of tools for adaptation or development is agreed upon annually by all regional councils and, with the governance committee's approval, submitted to MBIE in November for funding the following 1 July year.

Only one list is drawn up each year, and this list dictates the tools that will be developed/adapted for the following year.

The following information is required for each tool project included on the list:

  • tools project title
  • one to two paragraphs describing the scope of the tool adaption or development
  • selected research organisation
  • estimated funding value
  • estimated project duration (no longer than two years)
  • priority number (which serves as a regional council identification code).

You can download the sample tool proposal template for Stage one below in word format.

Sample tool project proposal stage 1

The amount of funding allocated to the tools list is made public around October each year. Funding is available per annum for two years, and the projects accepted on the prioritised tools list would not exceed the total amount of funding available. The governance committee is responsible for making sure that the cut-off point on the project list does not exceed the total tools development funds available.

Regional Council Special Interest Groups and contacts can be found on the research strategy page. 

MBIE then confirms whether the projects on the list meet Envirolink criteria for funding. Further information will be requested before rejecting any projects that do not appear to fit Envirolink objectives. This process takes approximately three weeks, following which an approved list of tools will be sent back to the councils.

Step two: Research organisations and regional councils submit proposals for tools approved on the prioritised list

A proposal should be submitted for each tool approved by MBIE on the prioritised list. Research organisations and regional councils, jointly complete the "proposal template" and submit it to MBIE with the approval of the governance committee. Proposals do not need to be submitted in any particular sequence.

Funding values for individual projects can be larger or smaller than specified on the prioritised list, but councils must ensure that the total value of all the proposals do no exceed the total amount of tools development funding available.

Adjustments to the list may be made at the governance committee's discretion.

MSI assesses proposals against the following criteria:

  • environmental benefits to New Zealand
  • science and technology benefits to New Zealand
  • ability to deliver research, science and technology output
  • pathway to implementation.

You can download the tool proposal template form below in word format.

Envirolink tools proposal template

You can download the Tool Development Guidelines below in pdf format.

Tool Development Guidelines

Step three: Research organisation signs contract and project begins.

A contract is set up for each proposal approved by MBIE. Projects may begin once the research organisation has signed and returned the contract.

MSI monitors progress of the project through quarterly reports submitted by the research organisation. A reporting template can be used. Project milestones identified in the proposal are used to assess progress and to determine the status of the project before payment is made each quarter.

When the project ends, the research organisation needs to complete an Envirolink final report supplement. This report is used for evaluation purposes and is held in confidence. Final payment (at least 10 percent of the funds) is withheld until the governance committee confirms that the tool has been delivered in line with the original scope of the project. More detailed guidelines on this process are available in the contract.