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Raft Of New Technologies For NZ Business Signalled

A Raft Of New Technologies For NZ Business Signalled


For Immediate Release

4 June, 2002

Science and Technology Awards Entries Signal A Raft of New Technologies for New Zealand Business

The Foundation for Research, Science and Technology says entries in this year's FiRST Scholarship Awards indicate wide-ranging research is being carried out across many industry sectors with a strong emphasis on innovation and new technologies.

The FiRST Scholarship Awards, which will be presented in Christchurch and Auckland later this month (June), acknowledge the way in which New Zealand's brightest scientists, researchers and technologists are using their ideas to help grow the New Zealand economy.

All fellows and scholars currently funded to do research by the Foundation can enter the FiRST Awards. Projects are presented on eye-catching and information-packed posters that clearly explain the research to a lay audience.

Peter Burke, Communication Manager of the Foundation, says the quality of the research, the presentation of projects and the clarity of communication in the Award entries is significantly up on previous years.

"We are really emphasising the importance of good communication in this sector," Peter Burke says. "It is great to see our scientists and researchers meeting this challenge by clearly explaining what they are doing in ways that allow all New Zealanders to appreciate the value of the science and technology sector."

Mr Burke says the Foundation is also encouraged to see that the projects submitted for an award cover diverse areas, including health and medicine, the environment, agriculture, industrial wastes and food technology.

This year's FiRST Scholarship Awards have been judged by a panel of specialists with expertise in business, research, communication and design and science.

Assessing the research component of award entries is Peter Maire, the President of Navman NZ Ltd, winners of the 2002 New Zealand supreme exporter of the year award. Navman is a world leader in the development and manufacture of high reliability GPS navigation systems for boats, vehicles and handheld computers.

Jade Software Corporation CEO Sir Gil Simpson is again participating in the judging, focusing on the business aspect of the entries, while Fraser Cason, a director of Wellington-based Fresco Advertising is looking at communication and design of the posters.

The fourth panel member is last year's nationwide FiRST Awards winner Kaa-Sandra Chee, who is advising on the science component of projects put forward.

Kaa-Sandra Chee says it is exciting to see how many entrants are using newer technologies and keeping abreast of other global research markets.

"The depth of the science in the projects is amazing," she says, "with a large number of researchers using new technologies to compete in the world research market."

"It is also encouraging to see projects from a wide range of sectors as that provides more career choices for young scientists. The more options that are available, the more chance we have of keeping our research talent in New Zealand," Kaa-Sandra Chee says.

Fraser Cason has applauded this year's award entrants for their appreciation of the need to make highly technical information easily accessible to a wide audience.

"You cannot bore people into being interested," he says. "While there is always room for improvement, this year's entries showed a real commitment to clear communication."

Twelve FiRST awards will be given this year with the total made up of five from the North Island, four from the South Island, one regional winner from the North and South Islands and an overall winner. Prior to the awards, scientists, researchers and technologists from around New Zealand will gather to discuss a range of issues including communication and the importance of research and to hear from former award winners.

The national award will be presented in Auckland on 20 June by the Minister of Research, Science and Technology, Hon Pete Hodgson. He will also announce the regional North Island award recipient. A week earlier the South Island regional winner will be announced by the Hon Jim Anderton, Deputy Prime Minister, at a function in Christchurch on 12 June.

Last year's FiRST Awards winners were honoured for research into novel therapies to prevent cataracts, the treatment of wool scouring wastes, reducing external emissions, increasing disease resistance in plants and the origins of Maori and Pacific people.


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