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AUS: Criticism of research funding absurd

12 March 2008

Criticism of research funding absurd, say university staff

University staff have labeled as absurd, criticism of yesterday's announcement by the government of $700 million in new research funding for research, development and innovation for pastoral and food production.

While most groups have welcomed the new finding, National party leader John Key has described the New Zealand Fast Forward Fund a "gimmick", saying the model carries a considerable risk, and will be at the mercy of the way in which the fund is invested.

Others, have said that the new funding is too late or too narrow in its application just to the primary sector.

Association of University Staff national president, Associate Professor Maureen Montgomery, said that the new funding was the biggest ever single investment ever in science and innovation in the primary sector, and should be welcomed not criticised. "This fund recognises the continuing importance of primary production to the New Zealand economy and the level of investment would pay significant dividends in the government's aims to transform this country's economy," she said. "For the National Party leader to dismiss the funding as a gimmick indicates either that he has little understanding of the research needs of the country or is playing political games which assist no one."


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