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Attack on Marsden angers research community

Wednesday, 27 September 2006

National's attack on Marsden angers research community

National's attack on Marsden angers research community Paul Hutchison's continued attacks on the Marsden Fund, including singling out a leading researcher, show he is not fit to be a spokesperson on science, says Research, Science and Technology Minister Steve Maharey.

"His comments have caused a backlash from the research and science community," Steve Maharey said.

"This is reflected in the fact that the Marsden Council and the Chair of the Council for Humanities have complained about this behaviour and I am aware that a number of other senior scientists and researchers will be making their positions clear today.

"Dr Hutchison's attack on the Marsden Fund is deplorable. He has taken the cheap political shot of attacking an individual applicant to the fund.

"Projects funded by Marsden are at the forefront of scientific investigation and have helped to raise the profile of our science and research internationally.

"The fund represents only five percent of total expenditure in research, and it is the only place allowing untargeted research. This enables our leading academics to put forward proposals they believe will advance their academic field.

"The head researcher of the project Dr Hutchison has singled out for attack is one of New Zealand's leading History professors. Consideration of his proposal included comprehensive peer review processes, including international reviewers.

"Oddly Dr Hutchison, who doesn't have a research record, believes he is better qualified to comment on cutting edge research than a panel of leading academics.

"Dr Hutchison should apologise for his cheap political attack, which has put him off-side with New Zealand's senior researchers and scientists.

"He clearly lacks the credibility, or judgement required for the role of research and science spokesman."


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