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Budget Confirms Central Role Of Universities For Growth

Media Release
24 May 2012

Budget Confirms Central Role Of Universities For Growth

Universities New Zealand – Te Pōkai Tara acknowledges that, despite the difficult economic situation faced by the country, the government has recognised the important contribution that universities make to New Zealand’s future.

Today’s Budget provides for an 8.8 percent increase in the funding rates for degree and postgraduate courses in engineering, a 2 percent increase for science courses and no change for other fields of study. In addition, the Budget supports university research through an additional $100 million over four years for the Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF), beginning with a 2.5% increase in the coming year.

“Research, Science and Technology (RS&T) is the cornerstone of innovation and growth, and the universities are at the heart of the RS&T effort in this country, producing world-class research that has commercial application and makes a difference for New Zealanders. Universities also train nearly all of New Zealand’s postgraduate students, the researchers and professionals that the country will depend upon in the future,” says Universities NZ Chair Pat Walsh. “Today’s announcement that, despite the government’s financial constraints, there will be increased funding for teaching and learning in science and engineering, as well as for university research, is welcome.”

University funding is an investment in the future of New Zealand, proven to deliver positive returns to both individuals and the country for years to come. The ability to reap those rewards, however, is dependent on levels of funding that will ensure New Zealand’s university system is underpinned by adequately resourced institutions delivering internationally competitive education and research.

“The combination of comparatively low direct government funding, low domestic tuition rates and high levels of international performance make New Zealand’s university system one of the best value systems in the world. We acknowledge the government’s work to begin to address the issue of institutional funding and we will continue to do our part by working with the government to drive efficiency and extract more value from our international, research commercialisation and philanthropic activities,” says Professor Walsh.

“But the challenge remains for the government to increase real investment in future budgets to ensure New Zealand’s university system is able to continue to deliver internationally competitive education and research that will drive the growth that New Zealand needs.”

ENDS

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