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Budget 2006: Driving innovation through science

Hon Steve Maharey
Minister of Research, Science and Technology

Driving innovation through science

Driving innovation in the New Zealand economy is the focus of a $100 million increase in research and science funding over the next four years, said Research Science and Technology Minister Steve Maharey.

"The Labour-led government's priority is to continue New Zealand's transformation to a high-value knowledge-based economy, we see science and research as key drivers in this transformation," Steve Maharey said.

"This budget provides a further strong boost to science funding, including $81 million to support key industries and $16 million to accelerate the commercialisation of research.

"The government's investment through vote research, science and technology is now around $630 million a year, a 65 percent increase since 1999.

"Our aim is to lift the investment further to the OECD average of 0.68 percent of GDP. As a starting point we will look to make increases of $30 million in each of the next three Budgets, a boost of $180 million over three years. Any increases will be subject to policy development and in the context of the overall fiscal strategy."

Key investments include:
Accelerating commercialisation of research: A $13 million boost for the Pre-Seed Accelerator Fund to accelerate commercialisation of New Zealand research findings, including $9 million from reallocation of existing funds; A one-off $3 million increase to enable commercialisation in CRIs through equity investments, where CRIs cannot access the necessary funding.
Supporting key industries: $34 million to support world-class research capability in CRIs; $15.6 million for pastoral research and $11.7 million for energy research; $15.6 million for protecting biodiversity and enhancing biosecurity.
Other initiatives: $2 million to develop international science partnerships; $4 million for a pilot programme to provide science resources to schools.

"This Budget builds on major increases in science funding since 1999 and recognises the role of science in ensuring New Zealand's future prosperity."

ENDS

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