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New President for ACRI

18 August 2006

New President for Association of Crown Research Institutes

Dr Rick Pridmore, chief executive of NIWA (National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research) has been elected President of the Association of Crown Research Institutes (ACRI). He succeeds Paul McGilvary, chief executive of HortResearch.

Dr Warren Parker, chief executive of Landcare Research, becomes Vice-President.

The Crown Research Institutes are New Zealand's largest science enterprises, and are owned by the Crown. The nine CRIs together earn more than $600 million annually, and have 4,000 staff in 50 sites from Invermay to Kaitaia.

Rick Pridmore has been CEO of NIWA since August 2002. He was NIWA's Deputy Chief Executive (Strategic Development) from 1999, and previously its Research Director. Rick has played a major role in the successful development of NIWA since its establishment in 1992.

Rick worked with the DSIR (Department of Scientific and Industrial Research) and Ministry of Works and Development before the CRIs were created in 1992. Born and educated in the United States, Rick holds a PhD in Zoology from the University of Otago.

Rick Pridmore says ACRI has a major role to play in the country's future.

"New Zealanders want a socially, economically and environmentally healthy nation. We simply cannot achieve that by continuing to do tomorrow what we do today.

"Indeed, if we do not do something different we will not even be able to afford tomorrow what we can today. But when we are already working harder and have more people employed than ever before, what can make the difference?

"The key lies in using smart science and technology to make each hour worked more productive and each item produced more valuable.

"That is the lesson from societies such as Finland and Singapore. They invested heavily and long term, and are now reaping the benefits and even increasing their investment.

"We certainly have similar skills and in some cases, greater resources.

"What New Zealand lacks is strong social consensus from government, business and the public that substantial RS&T investment is something we must do as a priority to create value and advantage.

"ACRI has a major role in building that consensus, to demonstrate the connection between RS&T and people's social, economic and environmental well being. We are keen to work with others in science, business, government, education and elsewhere in this task."


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