National Project Fund Request for Proposals Open

Ako Aotearoa is commissioning four to five co-funded projects aimed at making a significant difference in factors influencing the outcomes for tertiary learners.

Ako Aotearoa covers a broad spectrum of tertiary learners from foundational learners to those at higher levels of tertiary education, learners at transition points, and learners in their workplaces.

This year we have focused on strategic themes that are relevant to New Zealand and of particular significance to Ako Aotearoa.

*CORRECTION | the co-funding contribution by the applicants should be equal to Ako Aotearoa's contribution but not more than double this contribution. 

We will co-fund up to five projects in 2018 aimed at:

  • Discovering how educational capability can be built by developing professional teaching standards for the vocational sector/Whare Wānanga
  • Improving literacy and numeracy outcomes for our foundational and adult learners
  • Improving outcomes for our Māori and Pasifika learners
  • Making room for innovation that enthuse and motivate our learners.

In 2018, Ako Aotearoa will encourage teams to investigate how existing or promising new evidence could be scaled up and implemented to increase reach and impact. There is also a focus on innovation.

Building on the success of the 2017 National Project Fund process that invited proposals on the ongoing issues around Māori and Pasifika student success, this RFP focuses on the development of institutional capabilities and shifts that continue to drive systems change for the benefit of Māori and Pasifika students.

Ako Aotearoa is looking to increase collaborations and reach across Institutes and sectors so that our evidence base is applied widely to create change for impact.  Ako Aotearoa will encourage teams to move between disciplinary areas to bring multiple perspectives into their projects through multi-disciplinary/inter-disciplinary approaches that address different aspects of learning and teaching and outcomes for our learners.

We will actively support teams to:

  • Elicit documented, evidenced benefits to learners
  • Attain changes in practice amongst departments (especially organization-wide) and across organizations
  • Implement findings for the benefit of tertiary learners
  • Strive for wins: conference presentations, conference awards, community influence, recognition, etc.
  • Obtain positive media interest through news items, local radio features, etc.
  • Seek employee involvement, feedback, benefits/gains
  • Obtain feedback from other organizations highlighting benefits of the work/resources developed
  • Achieve recognition nationally and internationally
  • Be future focused.


Ako Aotearoa is the National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence. Our new vision is building educational capability for the best possible educational outcomes for learners. Our mandate includes funding large-scale change projects i.e. projects that seek to achieve evidence-based, sustainable improvements in teaching and learning practice for the benefit of learners.

The project will be funded through the Ako Aotearoa National Project Fund (NPF).

The NPF seeks to:

  • Enhance educational outcomes for learners
  • Make changes in practice and settings that use practice which leads towards impact for learners
  • Build a coherent and cumulative body of knowledge effective tertiary teaching and learning in Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Promote collaboration across and within different parts of the tertiary education sector, including between researchers and practitioners
  • Build research capability and capacity. 

Key Dates: 

15  June

Release of RFP (applications open)

16  June

Funding workshop video presentation posted to our website

20  July

Formal review service opens

03 August

Review service closes

22 August

Applications close


Funding selection panel meeting held


Applicants notified of the panel’s final decision

30 November

Contracts signed between Ako Aotearoa and successful providers

January 2019

Projects commence

Supporting documents