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New forum for the next generation of leaders

24 February 2005

New forum for the next generation of science leaders

A new forum of future science leaders will provide a fresh perspective on the needs and direction of New Zealand's research community, Research, Science and Technology Minister Steve Maharey said today.

The new forum, known as Oxygenators, will look at the current trends in science and technology both in New Zealand and internationally and consider the implications for New Zealand's society and economy.

Speaking at the group's first meeting in Wellington today, Steve Maharey said that the forum's members, currently at an intermediate stage in their careers, will provide leadership for the next generation of New Zealand scientists.

“This is a diverse group of science practitioners, covering the biosciences, social sciences, the information technology sector, chemical and physical sciences, geosciences and Mâtauranga Mâori or Mâori knowledge”, Steve Maharey said.

“The forum has the skills to interpret the impact of future trends in research, science and technology across a wide range of disciplines. In the 21st century, the various branches of science do not exist in a vacuum, but are more closely linked than ever.

“The choice of name for the group – Oxygenators – sums up the approach of the group: they will bring a breath of very fresh air and give a new perspective to the wide range of sound advice government already receives.

“The appointment of this group will also be important in building future capability in the RS&T sector – a sector that has a vital role to play in the future of New Zealand."

The group will be mentored by two prominent figures in New Zealand science: Professor Paul Callaghan of the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology and Dr Jim Watson, President of the Royal Society.

Professor Callaghan said it is a great honour to be associated with the group.

"This is a very bold idea," Paul Callaghan said. "It brings together a talented group of young people who would normally not be consulted and I am sure it is an idea that will bear fruit for MoRST and the science community."


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