Eleven researchers have been appointed to a panel tasked with identifying the biggest science challenges facing New Zealanders.
The panel will decide which six to 10 projects will receive money from a $60 million fund set aside by the Government.
"Science is essential to addressing some of the key issues facing our nation, whether it be challenges like improving water quality while at the same time lifting our farm productivity, or the state of our health," Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce said.
"This panel will identify the top science challenges New Zealand needs to solve over the next five to ten years."
The Government set aside $60 million funding from Budget 2012 for new investment into the national science challenges and has received hundreds of proposals from groups wanting funding.
The panel, which will be chaired by the prime minister's chief science adviser Sir Peter Gluckman will consider the submissions in late February and recommend between six and 10 final projects to cabinet, which is expected to decide on the final challenges in April.
"The final challenges will help focus our overall science funding investment, and help foster links across the research community in New Zealand to maximise the impact of work already underway in the challenge areas," Mr Joyce said.