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Hodgson sets out science priorities

Encouraging more private sector research, increasing public funding for basic research and improving the direction of strategic research are the Government's priorities in science and technology, Minister of Research, Science and Technology Pete Hodgson said today.

Speaking in Dunedin at the invitation of the Otago Institue of the Royal Society, Mr Hodgson said he would like to see private sector research and development spending significantly increased by 2010.

"The Government will do its part to improve this by restoring the target of raising public funding of R&D to 0.8% of GDP by 2010," Mr Hodgson said. "Getting public funding back on track to this goal should send a powerful leadership signal to the private sector."

Mr Hodgson said the Government was committed to increasing basic research funding through the New Economy Research Fund and the Marsden Fund. He said the Public Good Science Fund, which pays for strategic research in Crown Research Institutes, universities and the private sector was not yet adequately evaluated and its assessment would have to be improved.

Mr Hodgson also called for honest and tolerant debate over genetic modification.

"No-one has the franchise on wisdom in this debate. Everyone knows that genetic engineering has a place in our society and everyone knows that, like any other technology, it has its societal limits. We need to find them. I think it is time to remind ourselves of the term 'appropriate technology'."


Contact: Graeme Speden, press secretary 04 471 9707 or 025 270 9055

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