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New Social Research holds key to future growth

Media Statement 26 May 2003

New Social Research holds key to future growth

The Foundation for Research, Science and Technology is to invest $3.406million on a number of social research projects aimed at giving policy makers and employers of the future, better information on how New Zealand can improve the skills of its workforce and achieve greater growth in some key industries.

The Foundation has just completed reviewing its investments in the Public, Business and Economic Life areas and contracting organisations to carry out this research. The Foundation received requests for nearly three times the amount of money that it had available to invest. The Foundation has decided to fund 11 of the 34 proposals submitted.

One of the biggest research projects to be funded is by a team of researcher at Viclink, a business unit of Wellington's Victoria University, which aims to identify the factors that lead to the development of 'superior people management practices'.. The researchers say their study will produce a model that will lead to the recruitment and retention of more talented New Zealanders and to make New Zealand a work destination of choice for talented migrants. Employers, Trade Union and Maori organisations are also involved in working with the Viclink team. The project will take five years to complete and will cost $2,148,000.

Another major research project to undertaken centres around the fishing industry and in particular looking at positive outcomes for Maori. Manuka Henare who is based the University of Auckland will undertake a four year study into identifying the factors that have created strong innovation driven economic growth around the seafood sector over the past two decades. He will identify and articulate the role that Maori have played in this process and try and recommend a model for how this can be applied to other sectors in the economy with potential for growth from innovation. The results would benefit all New Zealanders but especially Maori. This project will cost $1,365,000.

Another important piece of research that the Foundation is investing in relates to a study on the values that New Zealanders hold. This includes family, community, political and a whole host of vales that people hold. The survey will be undertaken over four years by Massey University researcher Sally Casswell and is part of a global research collaboration. The survey is aimed at giving policy makers information about public attitudes and this leading to the better formulation of policy.

The Chief Executive of the Foundation, Gowan Pickering says social research is a key tool in the formulation of policy within both the public and private sector and it is important for decision makers to have accurate data on which to base their decisions. He says the Foundations investment in social research is a very positive investment in the future of New Zealand.


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