The Government has invested $59 million in so-called blue skies research with this year's Marsden Fund grants.
Such research is known as curiosity-based study rather than research that comes up with concrete solutions for the real world.
The projects chosen -109 of them - receive between $850 and $300,000.
They range from studying zinc therapy for autism-related disorders to researching the effect of religious belief on people's anxiety about death.
In its latest Budget, the Government boosted funding for Marsden grants by $20 million over the next four years.
Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce says this means the Government's Fund Council could recommend an extra 22 proposals for funding compared with last year.