Wellington's Victoria University and the Auckland University of Technology will lead New Zealand's contribution to building the world's largest radio telescope.
The Square Kilometre Array will be built in Australia and South Africa by an international team of scientists and engineers.
The array, which will have 50 times the image quality of the Hubble space telescope, is due to be completed in the mid-2020s.
The Government has announced that Victoria and AUT will lead the country's contribution to the project, researching how to best extract usable information from the data the array collects.
They will also determine the computer requirements to process the information.