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Significant Investment In University Research

15 July 2008

Significant Investment In University Research

Universities’ crucial role as the major research providers in this country has been recognised through contestable contracts worth $93.6 million in the latest investment round by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology.

In addition, two universities are among nine organisations involved in negotiating further contracts totalling $347 million under the “stable funding environment” initiative.

University of Otago Vice-Chancellor Professor David Skegg, who chairs the committee representing universities’ research interests, says it is pleasing to note the contestable contracts announced by FRST recognise universities as major players in the RS&T system.

“Universities also look forward to the Foundation announcing details of the negotiated contracts as they are completed so the institutions can assess the results of the stable funding initiative now in its second year.”

FRST has announced 96 contestable contracts in its main 2008 investment round, worth $98 million in their first year and $438 million during their lifespan. Universities’ share of the total value of the contracts is 21 per cent.

The universities’ peak body, the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors’ Committee, has published data which shows the eight institutions which it represents produce around 63 per cent of research publications and 57 per cent of all patents in this country per annum.

Among the university contracts announced by FRST are a $8 million University of Auckland project on creating a new generation of hybrid plastics, a $4.5 million University of Canterbury project on MARS bio-medical imaging, a $9.9 million University of Otago project on handheld diagnostic devices, a $4.3 million Lincoln University project on second-generation biodiesel feedstocks, a $2.4 million University of Waikato project on processing titanium alloy powders and a $3.8 million Victoria University project on nanostructures and composites for radiation detection and imaging.

“That range of successful projects provides a good indication of the contribution universities make to the national research effort,” Professor Skegg says.

ENDS

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