New national science strategy launched



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Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce has today launched the inaugural National Statement of Science Investment (NSSI), which sets the long-term strategic direction for the Government’s investment in science.

“This first NSSI responds to the need to plan more strategically, target New Zealand’s growing science investments more effectively, and leverage them to maximise their long-term value to New Zealand.”

Joyce says funding will be offered through two investment mechanisms with an investment plan to signal how, when and why the Government will invest over a three-year horizon.

The NSSI will also see the establishment of new regional research institutes as well as a review of Crown Research Institutes’ core funding and a strategic refresh of the Health Research Council.

Universities New Zealand has welcomed the NSSI.

Executive Director Chris Whelan says it is a critical document as it sets out the Government’s ten-year strategic direction that will guide future investment in New Zealand’s science system.

 “We are delighted to see that the strategy is not just about generating knowledge for business.  The strategy also aims to support the development of new knowledge and ideas, and to develop them in ways that will benefit New Zealand.  We are pleased the strategy recognises that most applied commercial research builds upon fundamental pure research.”

Whelan said that the review of the Marsden Fund, released last week, showed that a lot of important research was not being done due a lack of funding in the current system.  

“We therefore warmly welcome the Government's commitment to lifting expenditure on research and development from around 0.67% to 0.8% of GDP.  This is in line with the expenditure of other comparable countries.  It also reflects the urgent need to invest in solutions to the environmental, economic, geographic and social challenges that New Zealand faces.”

Minister Joyce also announced today changes to the International Relationships Fund to better support high-quality international science collaborations.

The changes follow an independent evaluation, which determined that the fund was valued but that adjustments were required to improve its impact.

 The new fund will be called The Catalyst Fund and will consist of four funding streams that target investment in leadership, influence, seeding and strategic co-operation. Funding levels will not change at this time, remaining at around $9.3 million per annum in strategic international science and innovation collaboration.

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