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National Research, Science & Technology policy

John Key MP
National Party Leader

25 September 2008

National releases Research, Science & Technology policy

National will establish an international centre of research dedicated to the reduction of on-farm greenhouse gas emissions, says National Party leader John Key.

“This centre will be a ‘virtual centre’ – a multi-institutional research network with scientists and researchers from Crown and private sector agencies working together on a commonly agreed work programme.

“National is committed to boosting research and development into emissions-reducing technology, especially in agriculture. Around the world, countries will be focusing their research dollars on the main causes of their own emissions, and so should we.”

Mr Key says National will also investigate options for reducing compliance costs and unnecessary bureaucracy within the science system. In particular, National will work towards:

• Developing accountability mechanisms with the lowest compliance necessary for the size and risk of the project.

• Reducing product clutter and the proliferation of funding pots.

• Developing best-practice mechanisms for funding proposals and contracts, including common templates for equivalent information, common contract formats, and common sign-off requirements across the different public funding agencies.

• Developing a nationally co-ordinated calendar of the RS&T funding cycle that spreads the activities of all participants predictably through the year.

• Avoiding one-off or ad hoc funding processes for small sums of funding out of the normal cycle.

• Using common terminology and definitions across the sector.

• Reducing duplication in administrative functions across funders.

• Facilitating common electronic transfers of information rather than paper-based transfers.

National will also reduce the size of the recently introduced R&D tax credit and use the resulting savings to boost funding for research and science by $315 million in the next three years. National will:

• Reduce the R&D tax credit to a 10% credit. This will still be more generous than the standard Australian R&D tax incentive.

• Redirect the savings from this reduction into directly funding science and research. Funding will go into research at both universities and CRIs, by being split 50:50 between:

- An increase to the Performance Based Research Fund, Marsden Fund, and Health Research Council funding allocations.

- The creation of a new secure funding allocation system for CRIs.

National will establish a new secure funding allocation for CRIs. This will allow CRIs to develop and maintain a nationally significant research capacity in their core areas of science, without having to constantly compete for funding.

This funding will be made up initially from:

• Half the savings from reducing the size of the R&D tax credit.

• The funding currently in the CRI Capability Fund.

National will wind up the Fast Forward Fund, so minimising the need for extra bureaucracy. Where R&D initiatives have already been established through Fast Forward, consideration will be given to continuing them. National will continue with the same quantum of new funding but we will spend it in a way that ensures better research outcomes.

National will:

• Establish the international centre for research into on-farm greenhouse gas emissions and fund it with $20 million a year.

• Boost funding within Vote RS&T for primary sector and food research by $25 million a year.

• Boost funding for research consortia in the primary and food sectors by $25 million a year.


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