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Science Manifesto Supported By 2500 CRI Staff

April 16, 2008
For Immediate Use

Science Manifesto Supported By 2500 CRI Staff

Two and a half thousand scientists and other staff working at the country’s nine crown research institutes have endorsed the Science Manifesto issued by the National Science Panel.

The panel, made up of 11 of New Zealand’s leading scientists, says that scientific knowledge underpins any improvement we hope to make to our economy, infrastructure, energy supply, communications and social well-being.

The PSA has 2500 scientists, engineers, technicians, and support staff working at nine Crown Research Institutes. Each CRI is based around a productive sector of the economy, such as AgResearch, where the staff work to boost the productivity of the pastoral sector.

“The CRI staff, who belong to the PSA, are endorsing the National Science Panel’s manifesto because it highlights the huge benefits that scientific research provides,” says PSA National Secretary, Richard Wagstaff.

“They’ve been speaking out about the public value of science for years and last month welcomed the government’s new $700 million fund for research and innovation in our pastoral and food industries,” says Richard Wagstaff.

The CRI staff agree with the panel’s call for long-term funding for “public good science” which will create greater career stability at research institutes.

“We need to lift the level and certainty of funding to our CRI’s because they’re struggling to hold onto their science staff,” says Richard Wagstaff. “That’s because they can earn far more working in non-science industries in New Zealand or in science jobs overseas.”

Market surveys show that AgResearch science staff are paid 14.6% less than their counterparts working for non-science industries.

“We also agree with the panel that improving pay and having better career prospects at research institutes will make science a more desirable career for young people,” says Richard Wagstaff.

Other key points in the Science Manifesto that the CRI staff agree with are:
* the need to develop a National Science Strategy. This would identify New Zealand’s science needs, directions, resources, capabilities and take account of international science trends. This would provide a clearer direction for researchers and research institutions
* change the funding system to reduce the administration costs for research institutes.
* increase the investment in research science and technology which lags behind other developed countries.
* increase recognition of the value scientific research provides to the country economically and socially.


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