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Researchers bid to improve social well-being

Researchers bid to improve social well-being

The vision of a society with better outcomes for our young people, improved access to work and a positive outlook for our ageing society has engaged the minds of New Zealand's top researchers.

Eighteen proposals have now been received for $2.2m of funding available from the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology to help improve our social well-being in the future.

The funding will be invested in programmes that lead to positive benefits for New Zealanders by contributing to at least one of the following areas: improving outcomes for children and young people; improving participation in work, earnings and quality of employment; and enhancing wellbeing in an ageing society.

The Foundation's Portfolio Manager - Social, Shane Stuart, says the Foundation is looking for outstanding research proposals that align with existing social policies and strategies.

"It is important that researchers have ongoing working relationships and collaboration with government agencies and strategies, as well as a greater focus on the use of the research by everyone - government, community agencies, academia, and the general public."

The Foundation is expected to approve three to six of the bids, offering funding over five to seven years.

"We are seeking bigger cross-sector and multi-disciplinary projects that focus clearly in one area. We do not want small or fragmented projects, though we do accept there may be a place for smaller 'niche' projects", says Shane.

"We have received a number of excellent proposals, requesting a total of $11m of funding, but, because we have only $2.2m to invest, the process will be very competitive."

The Foundation's social research reference group (an independent panel of experts) will now begin the process of assessing the proposals. Final decisions are expected to be notified in mid-December 2003 and contracts will be confirmed in February 2004.

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