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Investing in knowledge

Hon Pete Hodgson
Minister of Research, Science and Technology

Investing in knowledge

The government will invest $140 million of new operational funding in research, science and technology (RS&T) over the next four years.

For 2003-04 new funding is $33.5 million, a boost of over 6 percent. The increase brings the total public investment in RS&T for 2003-04 to $557 million.

"This is a government that means what it says about building a knowledge economy," said Research, Science and Technology Minister, Pete Hodgson.

"Increasing New Zealand’s knowledge base by investing more in research has consistently been a high priority for this government. Science drives innovation. It generates new ideas and concepts that change our economy and society."

Funding for the new and very successful Research Consortia programme is being increased by $34.2 million over four years. The funding supports research projects developed by science providers and users working cooperatively and will be matched or surpassed by partnership investment from the private sector. The extra $8.55 million a year takes funding for 2003-04 to $14.69 million.

The New Economy Research Fund increases by $27.2 million over four years. The fund supports new areas of research with an identifiable potential to create new types of business for New Zealand. Funding will total $63.88 million for 2003-04, with much of it expected to go to biotechnology.

The Marsden Fund increases by $3.8 million over four years. It supports curiosity-driven research at the frontiers of knowledge that has the potential to be of international significance. Funding for 2003-04 totals $32.79 million.

Funding for Maori Knowledge and Development research increases by $1.94 million over four years. The new funds will build a credible growth path for Maori research, including new capacity and capability building. Total funding for 2003-04 is $5.48 million.

Social Research funding increases by $9.02 million over four years. The extra $1.455 million for 2003-04 raises the total to $6.59 million, an increase of 28 percent. These funds will be used to address whole of government issues including housing, family structures, socio-economic determinants of well-being, and migration.

Funding for Health Research, primarily focusing on biomedical research and the Health Research Council’s partnership programmes, increases by $6 million over four years. The extra $1.5 million a year takes the total for 2003-04 to $42.23 million.

Environmental Research funding increases by $4 million over four years, with the additional $1 million a year to be directed towards developing alternative possum control methods. Total funding for 2003-04 is $88.62 million.

Mr Hodgson said the government was also increasing support for talented New Zealanders with new funding of over $9.78 million over four years for a range of fellowships and scholarships.

A further $8 million over four years will be invested in strengthening strategically important international linkages, particularly New Zealand's science presence in the European Union and the United States.


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