The Envirolink Scheme invests in the transfer of environmental science knowledge to support select regional councils in their environmental management. Established in 2005, Envirolink made funding of $1.6 million available to regional councils each year, a total of $22.4 million over 14 years. Scientists within selected regional councils used the money to contract government-funded research organisations, including Crown Research Institutes, universities and some not-for-profit associations. Envirolink enabled selected regional councils to access existing environmental science from the Crown Research Institutes and other approved research providers.
We evaluated Envirolink in 2019 working closely with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the Envirolink Co-ordinator. The evaluation used an evaluation-specific methodology and mixed methods approach. To assess whether the Fund was making a worthwhile and valuable contribution we assessed the extent to which the fund helped build science capacity, support better engagement and building of networks, the extent knowledge exchange occurred, the usability of the research, and the likely influence and impact of that research.
The evaluation found:
- Envirolink increases the value of existing environmental science research by supporting higher uptake by users.
- Envirolink is a well-run fund that enables eligible regional councils to problem-solve, respond to concerns from the community, develop policy, plan more effectively, manage environmental issues and respond to demands of government.
- Envirolink supports regional councils to make evidence-based decisions that help manage their local environments more effectively.
On this basis we concluded that Envirolink delivered on its value for money proposition.