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Investing in innovation will benefit New Zealand

9 November 2000

Investing in innovation will benefit New Zealand

Investments made by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology are currently being reviewed to ensure New Zealand taxpayers get maximum benefit from the country's innovation system.

At a seminar in Wellington today, the Foundation met with nearly 250 business leaders, scientists and academics to inform them of its changing research priorities.

"Our priority is to invest in RS&T which improves wealth and well-being for all New Zealanders," said the Foundation's Chairman, Neil Richardson.

"We are reviewing our investments, in partnership with research and industry groups and government, to ensure we focus on research which, in economic, social, environmental and Maori areas, adds greatest value. That value can be at any point in the value chain.

"We are also balancing our economic and public good science investments," Mr Richardson said.

The Hon Pete Hodgson, Minister for Research, Science and Technology said that while the Government increased science spending by 10 per cent in the last budget, it is not the quantum of money that matters as much as how well it's spent.

"How do we use this money to improve our innovation system? How do we increase the level of spending in the private sector, and how do we achieve more high tech exports, across all sectors, but particularly among small business enterprises?" Mr Hodgson asked.

"At the same time, how do we maintain excellence in our environmental and social research because it is this research which underpins our society?"

The seminar today, the first of six around the country, highlighted the need for greater collaboration between businesses, researchers and academics.

The Foundation has taken on a number of new investment funds in the last 12 months including the New Economy Research Fund and the Grants for Private Sector Research and Development. It also administers the successful Technology New Zealand Scheme and a host of Fellowships and Scholarships.

For further information:

Patricia Donovan, Foundation for Research, Science and Technology Tel 04 9177809,
Neil Richardson, Foundation for Research, Science and Technology
The seminar today is at the Duxton Hotel, from 3.30 pm to 5.00 pm

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