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Increased certainty for researchers

19 March 2008

Increased certainty for researchers

The proportion of government research funding available through negotiation will increase from July this year, Research, Science and Technology Minister Pete Hodgson said today.

The change is part of the of the Labour-led Government’s Stable Funding Environment initiative, which introduced a mixture of contestable and negotiated investments.

“Before this initiative was introduced in 2006 New Zealand had one of the most contestable science funding systems in the world,” Pete Hodgson said.

“These latest changes mean that from July a total of $155 million will be available for negotiated investment through the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology. This gives providers greater certainty and stability.”

Currently 30 per cent in both the Foundation’s Research for Industry, and Environmental Research pools can be invested through negotiation. This latest decision lifts that to 40 per cent, making a further $34 million available for negotiated investment.

“These funds support long term projects to create value for New Zealand, by developing our industries, finding environmental solutions, and supporting our research capabilities. For example, the Foundation recently negotiated a $6 million contract with the Crop and Food Research Institute to develop new products and technologies for our vegetable and flower industries.

“We have also adjusted the eligibility rules that relate to previous contracts, further increasing the flexibility of negotiated investments and helping the process to become more transparent.

“By providing for a more flexible negotiation process, New Zealand’s best brains can be brought together, to collaborate and coordinate national research capability with demand.”

The changes will progressively take effect from the next funding round, with contracts signed from 2009. The Foundation will release further details and begin consultation with interested parties in April.

ENDS

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