Improving earthquake forecasting and flying drones over volcanoes are among the research that the Earthquake Commission will fund in 2018.
Victoria University of Wellington has received five grants from EQC for this year.
The drone project, led by Dr Ian Schipper, will look into making drones able to fly close to active volcanoes and withstand, monitor and analyse the emissions, which could improve the forecasting of eruptions.
GNS Science, the University of Cambridge in the UK, and the Institute of Research for Development in France, are also involved.
Dr Schipper says the aim is to "address fundamental scientific questions about chemical reactions in active plumes directly at their sources".
The project aims to build on research occurring in South America, along with monitoring and analysis of emissions on New Zealand's most active volcano, White Island in the Bay of Plenty, he said.
"Given we currently understand almost nothing of volcanic plume chemistry and processes, we're confident the gain in knowledge from this project will deliver answers to questions we haven't even yet thought to ask."
The EQC grant for this work is $60,000.
Other Victoria projects include improving earthquake forecasting and measuring stress from the Kaikoura earthquake on the other nearby faultlines, while how earthquakes liquefy gravelly soil (University of Canterbury) and testing how houses built on slopes withstand big shakes (BRANZ) are among the other EQC-funded work.