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Universities welcome Budget funding

26 May 2016

Universities welcome Budget funding

Universities New Zealand has welcomed the Government’s Budget announcement that it is investing $761m in areas including science, skills and tertiary education.

The Executive Director of Universities New Zealand, Chris Whelan, says, “This follows more than a decade where funding has declined in real terms for universities and where universities have struggled to maintain quality in teaching and research, and their ability to do more in the service of New Zealanders.”

“We are very pleased that Minister Joyce has listened to universities’ concerns and responded by injecting additional funds where they’re needed most.”

The funding includes:

- $410.5 over 4 years for science and innovation funding which includes increases in contestable funding (ie Endeavour Fund, HRC and Marsden);

- An estimated $30.4m to increase tuition subsidies for science (5%), agriculture (16%) and veterinary science students (9%) and to fund additional places in engineering and medicine;

- $35m for new innovation initiatives in the university sector.

“We are pleased to see research funding receiving a boost in Budget 2016. This initiative, which includes the already announced increase to health research funding, will see more high quality research proposals getting the green light. At present only about 10% of research proposals get funded and a lot of good research has been missing out.”

Universities welcomed funding to support students to further develop their international education and to encourage refugees into university education, also announced today.

“New Zealand universities are among the best in the world. They are all ranked in the top 3% of universities internationally and have exceptionally strong graduate employment outcomes. They do this, despite funding that is only 70% per student of that for universities in Australia or the United Kingdom.”

“We are therefore reassured that the Minister has recognised that investment in universities is an investment in New Zealand’s innovation and economic growth. Together these initiatives provide a long needed boost to the New Zealand university system.”

“However, we would encourage the Minister to consider increasing funding in other areas in future budgets. The increase in funding to the sciences is welcome, but funding to disciplines like law, the humanities, teaching and commerce have not increased since 2012 and universities are struggling to maintain quality in those areas.”

“Universities are also struggling to advance other Government priorities under current funding levels. There is a lot more universities could be doing to work with schools and iwi to lift numbers of young Māori making it to university. Likewise, funding levels are limiting the extent to which universities can work with industry to get qualification relevant work experience for their students and support the direct transfer of University knowledge to business.”

This release is on our website at www.universitiesnz.ac.nz/node/882


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