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A first-rate think tank

Minister of Research, Science and Technology Pete Hodgson said today he was delighted with the calibre of the people who had agreed to serve on the new Science and Innovation Advisory Council (SIAC).

"We had over 300 nominations for SIAC and they presented an embarrassment of riches," Mr Hodgson said. "The depth of talent in this area is outstanding and I am certain the council will prove an invaluable source of advice and knowledge."

Mr Hodgson said SIAC had been set up to deliver original and creative ideas on the transformation of New Zealand's economy into one based more on innovation and its products.

"We have not set out to choose a group representative of particular sectors or interests. The chief criteria were creativity and independence. The people on SIAC also share a wealth of experience and understanding of how New Zealand's innovation system functions and how it can be improved."

The newly appointed chairman of SIAC, Rick Christie, said he believes New Zealanders are "some of the most innovative and flexible people in the world".

"The challenge is to organize this innovation so that New Zealand as a whole benefits," Mr Christie said. "The Council members have excellent networks around New Zealand, and we will draw on those to offer positive but also realistic advice to Government on a range of issues."

ends

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