Time to review funding arrangements
Association of University Staff
Attn Education Reporter 6 March 2008
Time to review funding arrangements, say university staff
The inadequate level of Marsden research funding in New Zealand highlights the need for major new investment in publicly funded research, according to the Association of University Staff (AUS).
More than four hundred scientists and researchers sent an open letter to the Minister for Science, Technology and Research this week, asking that the amount of money made available for research through the Marsden Fund be trebled, to $120 million, over the next few years. The Fund, which currently distributes around $40 million annually, is one of the few New Zealand sources for the funding of undirected basic research and is well-known internationally for its high productivity per dollar and its role in value creation.
AUS National President, Associate Professor Maureen Montgomery, said that the inadequate level of the Marsden Fund serves to highlight the broader issue of funding for research in many sectors, not just within the sphere of the sciences. “In the tertiary education sector, AUS has consistently lobbied for levels of support and funding for research to be increased across all disciplines,” she said. “The overall objectives for New Zealand as a country and the tertiary education sector in particular will, in our view, be difficult to achieve if they are not sufficient supported to explore new knowledge areas as well as maintaining and improving upon the success of current programmes.
Associate Professor Montgomery said that, while New Zealand research has a significant impact internationally, only about 10 percent of Marsden applications received funding and that this was a barrier particularly to young and emerging researchers.