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ACRI welcomes Minister's statement

4 May 2006

ACRI welcomes Minister's statement on science investment

The Association of Crown Research Institutes (ACRI) warmly welcomes the Government's decision to re-shape the processes for investing in science and technology.

ACRI President Paul McGilvary said: "It is a big step in the right direction. We look forward to engaging in consultation around the detail of implementation."

He added:

"The statement recognises that RS&T thrives on competition but also needs some element of stability in some areas.

"The new direction broadens competition beyond contest around projects, which has been the primary mechanism for more than 15 years.

"Now, in some elements of the national innovation system at least, there will be opportunity for negotiated investment.

"Importantly, that opportunity to negotiate will be open to any entity which currently receives Foundation investment and can meet the criteria of quality, relevance, excellence and performance. Thus, to be eligible to open negotiations requires an entity to be competitive.

"The negotiations must also deliver on standards of accountability and performance, including technical review.

"Overall, this is a far more balanced approach to investment, and should deliver less cost and greater efficiency and effectiveness in use of New Zealand's scarce science resources.

"It provides a mix of contest as at present, opens up opportunity for negotiation in specific areas, and provides for backbone and core investment.

"As such it indicates a system that is maturing towards the right balance of dynamism and stability of the national capability, and thus encouragement for science investment, science careers and the range of science outcomes New Zealand needs."

********

Notes: The Association of Crown Research Institutes (ACRI) supports the common interests of the nine Crown-owned science enterprises.

CRIs contribute to the economic, environmental, social and knowledge wealth of New Zealand through blue-sky, applied and commercialised science and technology research for central and local government and private sector markets.

The nine CRIs were formed in 1992 under the CRI Act and Companies Act, as separate companies. In 2004/05 the combined gross revenues were $551 million, with more than 4,320 (FTE) staff across 50 sites around New Zealand.

The CRIs are: AgResearch, Crop & Food Research, ESR, GNS Science, HortResearch, Industrial Research, Landcare Research, NIWA, Scion.

ENDS

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