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Budget 2004: Fuelling innovation through research

Hon Pete Hodgson
Minister of Research, Science and Technology

Fuelling innovation through research

The government will invest $212 million of new funding in research, science and technology (RS&T) over the next four years.

New funding of $54 million in 2004-05 includes a $3.3 million capital injection. The increase brings the total public investment in RS&T for 2004-05 to $621 million, a boost of over 9 per cent.

"The government is committed to fostering growth through innovation and a strong investment in science underpins that," said Research, Science and Technology Minister Pete Hodgson. "We have delivered on that commitment by increasing RS&T funding by $190 million - almost 45 per cent - since we took office in 1999.

"This year's budget includes a major boost to funding for science and technology that improves the competitiveness of New Zealand industries. We are also increasing the funding available for research partnerships with industry, to help turn good ideas into innovative new products and services.

"Other important new investments will support international collaboration by New Zealand scientists and research organisations and provide more funding stability for Crown Research Institutes.

"Overall this is a science budget that continues to strengthen New Zealand's innovation system by supporting a high-quality science and technology sector with vibrant national and global connections."

Research for Industry funding, which supports strategic research underpinning the development of new products, processes and services, is increasing by $75 million over four years. New funding for this year is $17.3 million, a 9 per cent increase, raising the total to $205 million. New funding for each of the following three years is $19.2 million a year.

Funding for the successful Research Consortia programme is being increased by more than $17 million over four years and by $2.5 million to $17 million next year. This money supports research projects developed by science providers and users working in partnership, with matching investment from the private sector.

The new International Investment Opportunities Fund (announced on 17 May) will be open to researchers who have the opportunity to participate in international research collaborations. It will help New Zealand research organisations compete in the global market for funding for scientific projects and could help overseas researchers to relocate here. The fund will have $3 million available in 2004-2005, increasing to $4 million in 2005-2006 and $5 million from 2006-07 onwards.

More stable long-term funding for Crown Research Institutes (CRIs) comes through an increase in Organisational Capability funding, which will increase by $4 million in 2004-05 to $32 million, and by up to $10 million in reprioritised funding in 2005-06, conditional on further policy development. This money will help CRIs maintain strategically important research capabilities, including by the recruitment or retention of top researchers.

The New Economy Research Fund increases by $21 million over four years. The fund supports new areas of research with the potential to create new types of business for New Zealand. Funding will total $70 million for 2004-05.

Environmental Research funding increases by $21 million over four years, with an increase of $6 million in 2004-05 bringing the total for the year to $94 million. Priorities for the new funding include research into sustainable development opportunities, updating nationally important collections and databases, and ecosystems research.

Funding for Health Research increases by $22 million over four years, with new funding of $5.5 million a year. Total funding for this year is $48 million.

The Technology for Industry Fellowships programme, which enables students and experienced researchers to complete R&D projects in companies, is expanding with $10 million of new funding over the next four years.

Increased funding of $2 million over four years will strengthen New Zealand's international science linkages by supplementing funding for science counsellors based in the European Union and United States of America, and establishing a second Julius von Haast Fellowship for research in Germany.


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