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Budget recognises universities’ contribution to development

MEDIA RELEASE


16 May 2013

Budget recognises universities’ contribution to New Zealand’s development


Universities New Zealand – Te Pōkai Tara welcomes the Government’s investment in science and innovation which acknowledges the value of research, and the central role that universities play in advancing this for the nation’s development and prosperity.

Today’s budget provides for an additional $20 million for the Marsden Research Fund and retains last year’s allocation of an additional $100 million over four years for the Performance-Based Research Fund.

The university sector is also pleased that funding has been set aside in contingency for the Centres of Research Excellence (CoREs).

“The CoREs have been one of the major success stories of the New Zealand research scene in the last decade and this is, in part, because they are linked to universities where they have access to a wide range of researchers, as well as postgraduate students,” says Universities New Zealand Chair Professor Pat Walsh.

Universities NZ is strongly supportive of additional funding for the National Science Challenges, which boosts the total to $133.5 million in new funding over the next four years.

“Universities deliver world-class research, science and technology, and our contribution is integral to the country’s economic and social development. The Government’s investment in science will help us to add value to our contribution.”

Further investment to support innovation and economic growth, through a 2 per cent boost in both engineering and science tuition subsidies, is also welcomed.

Universities NZ is also pleased to see that the equity pool has been increased by 4 per cent.

Professor Walsh said that universities were however concerned that the Student Achievement Component (SAC) funding levels, for subjects other than science and engineering, had remained flat for the third year in a row.“There is also some concern regarding restrictions on student allowances which is likely to have negative implications for access to tertiary education, particularly amongst Māori and Pasifika students, as well concern about the stand down period for allowances and student loans which may affect newly immigrated Pasifika students.”

The Government’s announcement that it will invest an additional $40 million over four years to boost international education, as part of its international growth package, was a positive move.

“New Zealand ranks sixth amongst OECD countries in the proportion of international students enrolled in our universities, so we perform very well in attracting internationals students to study here. Increasing the number of international students who come to New Zealand has a broad range of benefits – it potentially adds to our trade, innovation and research goals.”

“For universities it enhances teaching, research and commercialisation capabilities, particularly through strong alumni links. Such alumni contribute greatly to the goodwill between New Zealand and other countries and enable enduring people-to-people links. International graduates are also an important pool of talent when New Zealand companies are looking to forge business relationships overseas.”

“A good proportion of international students make the transition from study to joining our labour market, helping to alleviate skills shortages in a range of areas.”

Professor Walsh said that universities would continue to make a major contribution to the nation’s development, through their teaching, research and international activities.


ENDS


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