China–Maurice Wilkins Centre Collaborative Research Programme (C-MWC)

Since 2012 the MWC has engaged successfully with scientific partners at prestigious Chinese institutions, especially the Chinese Academy of Sciences. These partnerships have produced exciting scientific findings and new therapies that are poised to enter clinical trials.

The C-MWC programme will allow the MWC to generate new scientific knowledge that can be translated into new treatments for cancer and metabolic, infectious, neurologic and degenerative disease. These treatments will not only benefit the health of the people of both countries, but are likely to also provide strong economic benefits.

The research programme will also deepen the relationship between New Zealand and China in a crucial high technology field, thereby increasing New Zealand’s international reputation for world-class research. New Zealand scientists will benefit, especially at an early career stage, through access to expertise, technology, and equipment/facilities not available within New Zealand, and through lifting their vision of what they can achieve through active engagement of leading scientists and institutions outside New Zealand.

2021 Project funding call

The C-MWC would like to invite applications from biomedical investigators based in NZ who have existing research collaborations with China.

The research proposed should aim to deepen partnerships with researchers and institutions in China and accelerate research into therapeutic agents with potential health benefits for both countries. NZ-based biomedical researchers who are not affiliated with the MWC are welcome to apply for funding, as well as MWC investigators.

To be eligible, the application needs to build on an existing relationship with Chinese researcher/s based at one or more prestigious Chinese research institutions, such as those affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Sciences. 


Check out the Programme Open Call documentBudget form_3MarVersion and CV template for more information. 

Applications close at 12 pm, Monday the 15th March 2021.


We have developed a template for the Letter of Support specifying the information that the C-MWC will be looking for in this supporting document, i.e. arrangement of resources/materials. Hopefully, this would make things easier for the applicants and the China collaborator/s. 

UPDATES on 3rd Mar

Budget form updated

We have recently noticed a potential issue with the pre-set equation for the overheads in the budget form template, where it is automatically calculated based on the annual salary INCLUDING ACC and Super, which might not be the case for all the universities and institutions.

We have now updated the template as well as the link above for downloading. Applicants will be able to manually fill out the overhead figures based on the relevant policy of their host institution. 


Q&A recording ready

The recording of the Zoom Q&A session held on Friday 26th Feb is ready and can be accessed via the link below.

Q & A - 2021 funding call

Please feel free to email Wendy Li with any questions. We are posting answers to questions received online in the following section - please check back on this page for updates, to be posted weekly as new questions come in.


Q1: What are the criteria for "existing research collaboration"?

A: Ideally you would have a research collaboration that has already produced tangible outputs such as conference abstracts, manuscripts (published or submitted), or patent applications. However, we will also accept applications from collaborations where you have at least met your research partners in China, identified a strong rationale to collaborate, and previously discussed potential projects and how to fund them. These criteria are to ensure that the collaborative project genuinely requires involvement from both China and New Zealand, has demonstrably strong support on both sides, and can rapidly be activated and completed. Although projects involving collaborators who have not met are not eligible for this round of funding, they may be eligible for the next round of project funding once they have deepened their engagement - and support for increased contact will be provided by the programme in upcoming initiatives.


Q2: Is more than one application permitted per investigator/team?

A: Yes, we will accept more than one application led by the same investigator or comprising largely the same team, but please be advised that there will only be one award/successful application per lead investigator/team.  We would therefore encourage lead investigators and their teams to put their favourite project forward rather than submitting multiple applications.  However, please note that investigators may have supportive rather than leading roles in more than one project; in these cases, where the teams and research themes are clearly substantially different, some investigators may end up named in more than one successful application, provided they are not leaders of more than one.


Q3: What are the requirements for the font size and spacing for the Application Form? 

A: Size 10 font and 1.0 line spacing would be the normal requirement.


Q4: Does the reference list count towards the page count allowed?  Where should the reference list be included?

A: No, references do not count against available page space.  Please append the bibliography to the end of the Application Form, using as much space as you think is appropriate to inform the Project Assessment Committee about your project.


Q5: Could I delete the notes under each section of the Application Form?

A: Yes, please feel free to take out the notes as they only serve as instructions.

UPDATES on 3rd Mar

Q6: If my application involves investigators from a different NZ institution, do I need to provide a fully signed MoU/contract with them for the submission?

A: No, there is no need for that for the submission. Just please include all FTEs and overheads when you fill out the budget form and make sure annual salary figures include holiday pay, ACC, super etc. HR obligations outside your host institution will rest with the subcontracted institution.


Q7: I have had the supporting letters from my China collaborators already. Should I ask them to use the template from the programme and send to me again?

A:  Please feel free to use our template as a guide for the key information the programme is looking for. It is fine to use your own template as long as your letter/s has covered all the information required. If you would like, please send through the letter/s to Wendy and we are happy to double check for you.


Q8: Would it be acceptable if the China project leader/team is involved in more than one application for this funding?

A: Yes, the programme does not have restrictions on the number of project applications that China-based investigators can be named on.

UPDATES on 4th Mar

Q9: Who should approve the Budget Form on behalf of the institution?

A: This would depend on your institutional/departmental policy. We can only provide you with an indication of what we know. As far as we are aware, for most of the universities, the budget form should be signed by the Head of School/Head of Department who has delegated authority to do so. 

UPDATES on 10th Mar

Q10: If my application involves a co-project leader from a different NZ institution, do I need to get institutional sign-off on the Budget Form from both institutions?

A: For applications with more than one Project Leader and from different NZ institutions, applicants will need to decide beforehand the single contracting party (upon the success of the application) among the co-leaders’ host institutions. That contracting institution would be the one that we need sign-off from for the Budget Form.

The contracting institution will need to be aware that they will be managing subcontract to the other co-PIs’ institutions as part of the project. The institution will need to be comfortable with the budget for the subcontract/s before they sign off. We would be, therefore, expect if the contracting institution has any doubts about the way the budget is set out, they would contact the relevant counterpart of the other institution/s before signing off.

c-mwc PROGRAMME executive team

Prof Rod Dunbar  MBChB, PhD, FRSNZ

Scientific Director


Mr Peter Lai  MBA, MSc

Administrative Director


Ms Wendy Li  GDip (Mgt), PGDip (PH)

Programme Manager