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RS&T - right direction, new approaches applauded

Association of Crown Research Institutes

18 May 2006

RS&T - right direction, new approaches applauded

Commenting on the Budget, Anthony Scott, executive director of the Association of Crown Research Institutes (ACRI) said:

"The commitment to multi-year funding, with negotiated investment being brought into the investment process mix, are the most critical developments in the science system for many years. Done well, these changes will encourage confidence from science staff, students, R&D organisations, sectors and investors.

"The commitment to raise Government investment to 0.68 per cent of GDP is very welcome and is backed by the indication of an additional $180m over three years from Vote RS&T alone.

"Commitments to increase linkages between R&D organisations, build equity investment opportunities, raise venture capital levels, and support key industries place RS&T at the heart of an innovative New Zealand that is reliant upon premium export products and processes.

"Overall, this Budget represents significant advance for the role of RS&T in New Zealand.

"But it is also clear that the science community has to be even more vigorous in selling our message of creating value for New Zealand. Governments respond to public demands, and RS&T was simply not a major item for the public at the last election.

"So Government's investment ($4.6m) in increasing the profile of RS&T and improving New Zealander's understanding of the value of RS&T will receive support from all CRIs.

"We need to show how New Zealand will benefit economically, environmentally and socially from RS&T investment in everything from biosecurity and protection of biodiversity to new industry products and processes.

"CRI staff will welcome the additional Capability Fund investment of $9.56m (GST inclusive) for 2006-07. This brings the Capability Fund to $52.4m. The Fund is the only discretionary sum available to CRIs, and is now close to 10 per cent of total revenue.

"In addition, CRIs will welcome the one-off $3m increase to enable commercialisation in CRIs through equity investment where CRIs cannot access the necessary funding.

"Of course, R&D investment also goes in via other Votes, including Vote Education.

"The Government has reaffirmed its commitment to raise the Performance Based Research Fund for tertiary entities to $250m by 2010; and is investing in increasing R&D linkages between universities and industry via the Partnerships of Excellence ($40m over 5 years) and R&D linkages ($47m over 5 years), plus a further $7m to the Tertiary Education Commission to work with tertiary institutions to increase research in areas identified as important to New Zealand's social and economic growth.

"With strong, confident and well-networked organisations each contributing to the national research effort in the ways they do best, New Zealand's researchers and our industries should surely be able to take on the world, together. This Budget progresses that goal."

ENDS

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