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Benefits from social sciences research project

20 September 2004

Media Statement

Benefits from social sciences research project

Massey University is to coordinate an $8 million drive to improve the research capacity of social sciences.

Associate Education Minister Steve Maharey today met with members of the Aotearoa New Zealand Social Sciences Research Network to officially launch the project. The Network is made up of senior researchers from the University of Auckland, Massey University, University of Canterbury, Lincoln University, Victoria University, Waikato University and the Family Centre in Lower Hutt.

"The government believes that social sciences have an enormous amount to contribute to the development of New Zealand," Steve Maharey said.

"Governments around the world now accept that research in social science areas can lead to better decision-making and also make a huge contribution to a growing economy.

"New Zealand has enormous research talent in the social sciences but hasn't been able to build up an effective capacity that adds up to more than the sum of its parts. This project will make a huge difference in building that capacity and delivering benefits for the country.

"It will contribute to understanding our society and the dynamics of our future well-being. It is a very important area because social systems are at the heart of tapping our potential in all fields of endeavour."

The Network brings together 36 existing medium-term strategic research projects to extend them into new areas based on themes of:

- New wealth creation and distribution systems in a globalised context

- Social justice and development

- Transmission of wealth/knowledge in a context of demographic change

- Sustainability of diverse households, communities and settlements.

The Aotearoa New Zealand Social Sciences Research Network was awarded funding under the Tertiary Education Commission's (TEC) Building Research Capacity in Social Sciences (BRCSS) programme announced in 2003.

It will receive $1.5 million per year over the next five years, and has been granted a further $500,000 to cover upfront capital costs.

The funding will be used to develop research capability as well as encourage new research. New and emerging researchers will be mentored and helped to develop their skills.

"I am delighted to hear that eminent international and local researchers have already been organised to contribute to local debates on social sciences issues," Steve Maharey said.

"This is a great example of tertiary education institutions working collaboratively as the government's Tertiary Education Strategy intends."

ENDS

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