The SfTI Challenge includes four 'themes' - large, multidisciplinary areas of innovative research spanning different applications and industry sectors. The themes are:
• Vision Mātauranga
• Materials, Manufacturing and Design
• Sensors, Robotics and Automation
• IT, Data Analytics and Modelling.

The role of each theme leader is to oversee projects, identify aspects relevant to their theme, and make connect researchers to ensure the Challenge has the right people, right partners, and right focus.

Vision Mātauranga

vmTheme leader – Kāhui Kaihautu Te Taka Keegan

Vision Mātauranga guides researchers on how to embed purposeful and mutually beneficial relationships with Māori.

It integrates western science and mātauranga Māori (knowledge) to explore new opportunities to build a prosperous, technology-driven economy.

Materials, Manufacturing and Design

hTheme leader – Don Cleland.

New Zealand has a small, vibrant, hi-technology processing and manufacturing sector. This theme aims to advance the sector’s reputation as a leader in smart, green manufacturing processes and materials leading to products, services and processes. The focus is on leveraging New Zealand’s brand to gain a premium in export markets.

eeSuch processes, services and products will :

  • have high value relative to shipping cost
  • target existing markets and create new niche global markets
  • allow mass customisation and/or relatively frequent product changes.

Research will include:

  • advanced knowledge of materials and development of novel materials - ideally building on New Zealand’s unique expertise and flora and fauna
  • new and improved manufacturing and processing technologies allowing enhanced sustainability and/or enabling new products
  • using advanced design thinking at all stages of product, service, and process development.

Sensors, Robotics and Automation

erTheme leader – Bruce MacDonald.

A wide range of new or enhanced sensors and sensing technologies will be developed and implemented in a variety of products or applications.

Robotics and automation will be applied to a wide range of applications to reduce costs, improve efficiencies, enhance safety in environments dangerous to people, and undertake tasks not otherwise economically viable.

IT, Data Analytics and Modelling

dgbTheme leader – Stephen MacDonell.

This theme aims to develop a range of innovative models, methods, tools and practices for use in new or enhanced business processes, hardware components, and systems and software applications. The aim is to  enable industry to customise and leverage these technology innovations into economically valuable products and services.