SFF Futures assessment criteria

Do you have an initiative that could make a difference to New Zealand’s food and fibre sectors? It could be eligible for funding through SFF Futures. 

Our 9 assessment criteria

Proposals are assessed against 9 criteria to decide whether applicants qualify for funding, and how much they may receive. We need robust information and as much evidence as possible.

The SFF Futures assessment criteria are:

  • sustainable benefits to New Zealand
  • innovation
  • beyond business as usual
  • fit with relevant strategies
  • adoption and extension/path to market
  • ability to deliver
  • governance
  • risk identification and mitigation
  • budget.

Here are some tips to help determine your eligibility.

Sustainable benefits

SFF Futures aims to deliver long-term environmental, social, economic, and cultural outcomes for New Zealand. We want to know about the public good benefits of your project. In particular, we want to know how it will contribute to:

  • the economic prosperity of New Zealand's primary industries (for example, by developing high-value products, increasing productivity, or boosting skills)
  • improved environmental performance for the benefit of current and future generations (such as through improving water quality or reducing methane emissions)
  • the development of thriving and sustainable rural communities and whānau/hapori (for example, by creating regional development opportunities, improving mental health, or lifting worker safety).

Your project doesn't have to show benefits from each category. Partnerships typically have a stronger emphasis on economic and financial benefits, whereas community-driven projects often focus on environmental or social benefits. However, we want your proposal to show that you have considered each benefit area. You might be surprised by how broadly your benefits could extend.

Consideration of Māori aspirations and opportunities

A well-rounded proposal will have considered the values and practices of Māori culture, and opportunities to work with Māori businesses, iwi, and other relevant groups.


Proposals should be solution-focused. They should find a new approach to an issue that New Zealand's primary sector needs to address. Whether it's national in scale or related to just one local community, we want your initiative to lead to positive, long-lasting change.

This may be incremental change that builds on other work or it could be disruptive in nature. It could be as big as an idea for a brand new product or a smaller-scale solution such as a new way of tackling a pest, improving animal welfare, or cleaning up your local waterway.

Fit with relevant strategies

Proposals should either fit within an existing industry strategy or provide positive disruption to a sector.

A well-considered plan

We want to see that you have:

  • thought through the proposed work
  • considered key risks
  • put in place everything necessary to deliver the project successfully
  • considered how you will achieve uptake or adoption of your initiative.

Practical application

If your project involves research and development it must have a practical application. The people who will put the research into practice must be actively involved in the project.

A realistic and appropriate budget

We need to be sure that your project represents good value for money. We need to clearly understand the costs of your project and how they relate to the work you are proposing.

Find out more

Your application is confidential. However, we may share your application with experts in MPI and other government departments to get their feedback. This is to confirm that your idea is innovative and "beyond business as usual".

Our Guidelines for Applicants has more information about the SFF Futures assessment criteria.

Guidelines for Applicants [PDF, 1.1 MB]

Download our guidance brochure for a quick overview of the application process.

SFF Futures snapshot guidance brochure [PDF, 295 KB]

You can also contact us directly for more information.

Email: sff.futures@mpi.govt.nz

Phone: 0800 00 83 33

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