The Curious Minds Participatory Science Platform funding round for 2021 is now open and taking applications. The platform connects applicants with grants of up to $20,000, and can be accessed to support community-led science or technology projects.

Venture Taranaki is leading the PSP in Taranaki, funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. Either a community group or science sector-based partner can apply to Venture Taranaki for funding to support their research project. Any type of community group can apply – these include schools, kura, community-based organisations, businesses and enterprises, and Māori organisations and collectives.
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 scientists or technologists and the broader community.
The PSP funding can be used to undertake a research project beneficial to Taranaki, including data collection and analysis, as well as implementation and sharing of new knowledge in the community.
This year, Venture Taranaki funded nine projects, including Auroa School’s sound lures project – an investigation into the way sound can be used to increase the efficiency of pest traps, and ‘Ground Breaking Mushrooms’ research project into the partnership of coffee beans and fungi.
“To date $815,000 has been invested into a remarkably diverse range of local science and technology projects. A further $154,000 will enable even more projects to be undertaken during the 2021 calendar year,” Josh Richardson, Venture Taranaki’s PSP Project Coordinator says.
“We invite anybody with a great idea for a science or technology investigation to get in touch with Venture Taranaki to see how they could access this programme.”
“There are three core criteria for projects – they have to be educationally valuable, locally relevant, and scientifically robust. We can work with people to develop their ideas, connect them to expertise, and make a funding application,” Josh explains.
The full list of 2020 Venture Taranaki-funded projects include: Auroa School’s sound lures; Alzheimer’s Taranaki’s exploration of a place for VR in dementia; Ground Breaking Mushrooms; Haurapa Kiwi – changing the way kiwi are monitored; He Tangata, He Whenua, He Oranga – a fashionable fight; Ōpunakē Kindergarten and Sustainable Taranaki’s ‘Our Green Ōpunakē Journey’; Papa Pokepoke; and Seachange surveys. To find out more about these projects click here: http://business.taranaki.info/Innovate/PSP-and-Curious-Minds/Curious-Minds-Taranaki-Case-Study-Booklet-2020.pdf

If you have an idea for a science or technology project get in touch with Josh on josh@venture.org.nz.