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Record research investment to benefit New Zealand

MONDAY 14 JULY 2008

Record research investment to benefit New Zealand


The Foundation for Research, Science and Technology has approved a record $785 million in contracts with more than two dozen research organisations in its main 2008 investment round.

The 96 contestable contracts are with 24 organisations including Crown Research Institutes, universities, other research organisations and private companies. They are worth $98 million in their first year and $438 million during their lifetimes, which range from two up to six years.

Additionally, a further 17 contracts are being negotiated with seven CRIs and two universities under the Stable Funding Environment initiative. These will be worth up to $43 million in their first year and up to $347 million in their lifetimes.

This makes a total commitment of $141 million for year one and $785 million over the life of the contracts.

Foundation chief executive Murray Bain says there have been significant increases in investments that directly help exporters and investments that focus on manufactured products, with strong support for research in the primary sector.

“This investment round is great for science and it is great for New Zealand,” says Murray Bain.

“The primary production sector is the single biggest area we are investing in, with about $38 million in the first year in contested and negotiated contracts. This reflects the importance of the sector to New Zealand’s economy and our need to remain innovative and globally competitive. Our increase in funding to the pastoral sector is more than the value of money released by maturing contracts.

“Some of the exciting contracts include Crop & Food’s Roots for Sustainability project, which aims to reduce the environmental impact of intensive farming while reducing costs to farmers.

“Māori land and business owners are major players in the primary sector. The Cawthron Institute’s Adding Value to Cultured Shellfish project will have a major spill-over benefit to Māori business development.


“In the area of Leveraging New Zealand’s Natural Resources, where we have committed a further $35 million in year one, projects include HortResearch’s Sumptuous Summerfruit, which seeks to develop a juicy new apricot variety to target a market niche in Europe that could be worth $15 million annually.

“And in our New Materials, Technologies and Services area, with $34.7 million committed in year one, there is significant research in high-tech and high-value areas, such as nanotechnology projects being done by VicLink and GNS Science, and the hybrid plastics work at the University of Auckland.

“We’re also excited by the potential of LanzaTech’s work to develop a high-energy biofuel from industrial waste gases. It has the potential to be used at blends of up to 90 per cent with petrol without causing problems with car engines.”

Most of the contracts will start from 1 October 2008,

“Researchers put forward many high-quality proposals, which did not make the work of choosing between them easy,” said Murray Bain.

“However, we had $121 million available for this round from maturing contracts and almost $20 million in new money from the Government’s May Budget, which enabled us to approve a record $141 million for year one of the contracts, which comes to $785 million over their full terms.

“It was particularly pleasing to see bids involving increased collaboration between research organisations, with a lead researcher and subcontractors.

“Of the investments we’re announcing today, 70 per cent are from a contestable process where research organisations put forward bids for the available funds. It is an unfortunate fact of a contestable process that some good bids will miss out, but we are confident that we have a robust process that has seen us target the money to the research most likely to benefit New Zealand.

“We are also in the second year of the Government’s Stable Funding Environment Initiative, which includes negotiated rather than contested contracts that allow for longer-term planning by research teams. This initiative is in the process of being further developed to allow for the funding of strategic platforms of research in important areas.

“These investment decisions are a major part of the public research, science and technology funding but they are not the limit of our investment. The Foundation invests smaller amounts in specific areas through other processes and also invests about $50 million a year to support firms doing research with our TechNZ programme. “

A full list of the 96 contested contracts is attached. Details of the negotiated contracts will be available progressively as they are completed.


Further Information


Background

What is the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology?

The Foundation for Research, Science and Technology is the funding agency that invests over NZ$530 million a year on behalf of the New Zealand Government, in public good research, science and technology and in assisting firms with research and development initiatives. These investments are made to enhance the wealth and well being of New Zealanders.

The Foundation is a Crown entity, governed by an independent board chaired by Bryan Gould.


What was the process for making the investment decisions?

The 2007/08 investment decisions being announced today were made using two processes.

Approximately 30 per cent of the funding, or $42.8 million in the first year of the contracts, is being invested through a process of negotiating extensions to existing major research contracts, introduced last year in the Government’s Stable Funding Environment Initiative.

The remaining 70 per cent, $98.8 million in the first year, was approved through a contestable process.

With most of the contestable processes, the Foundation asked research organisations in July 2007 to put forward short concepts for consideration, and 315 concepts to the value of $232 million in year one were submitted. After assessment by independent advisory groups, research organisations were asked to submit full proposals based on 149 of the concepts. The full proposals were seeking in total $157 million.

The proposals were assessed and ranked by independent advisory groups. The advisory group rankings were then compared and considered alongside a number of balance factors, by an external Strategic Balance Group and the Foundation management and board. The balance process takes into account issues such as maintaining capability, ensuring coverage of critical areas, supporting an appropriate spread of industries or areas, and balancing longer and shorter term proposals.

Final decisions are made by a Foundation board committee, which decided to invest in 96 contested proposals, across 24 organisations.

What other investments does the Foundation make?

The Foundation invests smaller amounts through contestable processes in research in the areas of social research, Māori knowledge, people and resources, sustainable development, energy and environment.

The Foundation also supports promising individuals through fellowships and supports international research collaborations.

Through its TechNZ scheme the Foundation supports firms undertaking R&D.


Where does the money being invested come from?

The Foundation is funded through Vote: Research, Science and Technology and will have approximately $536 million (GST inclusive) to invest in the 2008/09 financial year across all existing and new investments.

Most of the money in the Foundation’s annual Investment Round is available because each year, a number of previous research contracts come to an end, freeing the money committed to them for further investment. This round, about $121 million is available because of maturing contracts. Additionally, $18.8 million is available from new money approved in the Government’s 2008 Budget.

Other new Budget money is being invested through separate processes still underway.

How does this compare with previous years?

The size of the investment round is dependent on a number of factors including previous research contracts ending. In last year’s Investment Round, contracts worth $113 million in their first year and $628 million over their full duration were approved, so this year’s round is significantly bigger.

What happens if specialist research teams miss out on funding?

The Foundation has a fund of approximately $7 million to help “transition” teams that are significantly affected by a funding decision. Transition funds are designed to keep the core team intact until their research organisation can seek new funding in a future round.

Successful contested proposals
Funding Approved
Proposal No. Organisation Short Title Year 1 Funding
(12 mths) Term
(Years) Total Funding
PROJ-13906-IFS-AGR AgResearch Limited Unlocking Cellulosic Biofuels 800,000 6 4,800,000
PROJ-13754-LNNR-AGR AgResearch Limited Modified Keratin Bioconjugates 440,000 5 2,200,000
PROJ-13812-LNNR-AGR AgResearch Limited Accessing the uncultured rumen microbiome 1,400,000 5 7,000,000
PROJ-13825-LNNR-AGR AgResearch Limited Nanocage delivery systems for pest control 850,000 5 4,250,000
PROJ-13827-LNNR-AGR AgResearch Limited TG livestock 1,350,000 5 6,750,000
PROJ-13846-LNNR-AGR AgResearch Limited Allergy fighting milk 800,000 4 3,200,000
PROJ-13874-LNNR-AGR AgResearch Limited Endophytes for Cereals 660,000 5 3,300,000
PROJ-13784-PPS-AGR AgResearch Limited Bovine tuberculosis vaccines for possums 1,500,000 2 3,000,000
PROJ-13807-PPS-AGR AgResearch Limited Rural Futures 1,850,000 5 9,250,000
PROJ-13823-PPS-AGR AgResearch Limited Enhanced Reproductive Efficiency 2,500,000 3 7,500,000
PROJ-13850-PPS-AGR AgResearch Limited Undermining Weeds 1,432,000 4 5,728,000
PROJ-13851-PPS-AGR AgResearch Limited Steak and SNP chips 950,000 2 1,900,000
PROJ-13852-PPS-AGR AgResearch Limited Animal welfare for market success 1,450,000 5 7,250,000
PROJ-13858-PPS-AGR AgResearch Limited Safe effective cattle Tb vaccine 550,000 2 1,100,000
PROJ-13804-LNNR-BIOPOLYMER Biopolymer Network Ltd Fibre, Resin and Foam Bioproducts 2,000,000 5 10,000,000
PROJ-13785-PPS-CAW Cawthron Institute Adding Value to Cultured Shellfish 2,950,000 5 14,750,000
PROJ-13816-PPS-DRC Dexcel Ltd Strategic lactation management tools 925,000 5 4,625,000
PROJ-13909-PPS-DRC Dexcel Ltd Dairy Systems for Environmental Protection 1,950,000 5 9,750,000
PROJ-13734-LNNR-DRI Fonterra Research Centre Limited Nutritional Vitality 1,500,000 4 6,000,000
PROJ-13794-LNNR-DRI Fonterra Research Centre Limited Transformational Dairy Platform 810,000 5 4,050,000
PROJ-13749-IFS-IRL Industrial Research Limited Hydrogen and Clean Energy 1,375,000 4 5,500,000
PROJ-13750-IFS-IRL Industrial Research Limited Wave Energy 800,000 6 4,800,000
PROJ-13748-NMTS-IRL Industrial Research Limited High Resolution Spectrograph 350,000 3 1,050,000
PROJ-13738-NMTS-IRL Industrial Research Limited Fast Fluidic Microanalysis 1,500,000 6 9,000,000
PROJ-13739-NMTS-IRL Industrial Research Limited Photonic Imaging and Sensing 994,000 6 5,964,000
PROJ-13741-NMTS-IRL Industrial Research Limited Carbo Nanotech 1,580,000 5 7,900,000
PROJ-13743-NMTS-IRL Industrial Research Limited New Synthesis Methodology 750,000 5 3,750,000
PROJ-13744-NMTS-IRL Industrial Research Limited High Performance Ceramics 800,000 4 3,200,000
PROJ-13746-NMTS-IRL Industrial Research Limited Advanced Sonar Technologies 1,000,000 6 6,000,000
PROJ-13747-NMTS-IRL Industrial Research Limited 3D Medical Ultrasonics 1,800,000 4 7,200,000
PROJ-13901-GLO-ESR Institute of Environmental Science and Research Limited HAIFA - Enhancing Human Health Resilience To Climate Variation And Change 758,562 3 2,275,686
PROJ-13789-IFS-GNS Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences Limited - Trading as GNS Science BioEthanol from thermophilic bacteria 325,600 3 976,800
PROJ-13790-NMTS-GNS Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences Limited - Trading as GNS Science Devices from magnetic nanocluster bands 350,000 3 1,050,000
PROJ-13792-PPS-GNS Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences Limited - Trading as GNS Science Isotopic Indicators of Nitrogen Transfers 350,000 3 1,050,000
PROJ-13751-PPS-LCR Landcare Research New Zealand Ltd Indigenous Forestry 450,000 3 1,350,000
PROJ-13769-PPS-LCR Landcare Research New Zealand Ltd Sustaining Tb Freedom 500,000 2 1,000,000
PROJ-05-LCET-LANZATECH LanzaTech New Zealand Limited Production of Low-C Petrol 4,000,000 3 12,000,000
PROJ-13809-IFS-LIN Lincoln University Second-generation biodiesel feedstocks 724,000 6 4,344,000
PROJ-13882-PPS-LIN Lincoln University Advanced Seed Production Systems 500,000 5 2,500,000
PROJ-13711-NMTS-LVL Lincoln Ventures Ltd Tomographic sensors 860,000 6 5,160,000
PROJ-13838-NMTS-LVL Lincoln Ventures Ltd DET biotechnologies 844,000 6 5,064,000
PROJ-13889-GLO-NIW National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd Reducing impacts of climate change on the urban and built environment 800,000 3 2,400,000
PROJ-13956-GLO-NIW National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd Wave and storm-surge projections (WASP) 300,000 3 900,000
PROJ-13799-IFS-NIW National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd Tidal Energy Optimisation 350,000 3 1,050,000
PROJ-13797-IFS-NIW National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd Deepsea Mining of the Kermadec Ridge 500,000 5 2,500,000
PROJ-13798-IFS-NIW National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd Algal Biofuel Energy from Wastewater 600,000 6 3,600,000
PROJ-06-LCET-NIWA National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd Bio-oil production from algae biomass 1,500,000 3 2,500,000
PROJ-13777-PPS-NIW National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd High-Value Aquaculture Species 2,000,000 4 8,000,000
PROJ-13890-IFS-FRI New Zealand Forest Research Institute Ltd Trading as Scion Waterproofing Biorefineries 350,000 2.75 962,500
PROJ-01-LCET-FRI New Zealand Forest Research Institute Ltd Trading as Scion New Zealand Lignocellulosic Bioethanol Initiative 2,350,000 3 7,050,000
PROJ-13779-LNNR-FRI New Zealand Forest Research Institute Ltd Trading as Scion Intelligent Design of Bioadhesives 350,000 3 1,050,000
PROJ-13828-LNNR-FRI New Zealand Forest Research Institute Ltd Trading as Scion Stat Methods for Gene Mapping 938,750 5 4,693,750
PROJ-13753-PPS-FRI New Zealand Forest Research Institute Ltd Trading as Scion Diverse Forests 1,600,000 5 8,000,000
PROJ-13855-PPS-FRI New Zealand Forest Research Institute Ltd Trading as Scion Forest and Environment 1,950,000 5 9,750,000
PROJ-13723-LNNR-CRF New Zealand Institute for Crop & Food Research Ltd Genes for hybrid seed 350,000 3 1,050,000
PROJ-13702-LNNR-CRF New Zealand Institute for Crop & Food Research Ltd Protein nanotubes 400,000 3 1,200,000
PROJ-13718-LNNR-CRF New Zealand Institute for Crop & Food Research Ltd From Tools to Traits 2,900,000 5 14,500,000
PROJ-13720-LNNR-CRF New Zealand Institute for Crop & Food Research Ltd Engineered Marine Molecules 1,260,000 5 6,300,000
PROJ-13722-LNNR-CRF New Zealand Institute for Crop & Food Research Ltd Food structure platform 902,500 5 4,512,500
PROJ-13726-PPS-CRF New Zealand Institute for Crop & Food Research Ltd Controlling meiosis 350,000 3 1,050,000
PROJ-13731-PPS-CRF New Zealand Institute for Crop & Food Research Ltd Deep understanding of vadose processes 350,000 3 1,050,000
PROJ-13703-PPS-CRF New Zealand Institute for Crop & Food Research Ltd Roots for sustainability 1,500,000 5 7,500,000
PROJ-13728-PPS-CRF New Zealand Institute for Crop & Food Research Ltd Higher Value Seafoods 1,200,000 5 6,000,000
PROJ-13863-NMTS-SOUTHPHOTON Southern Photonics Limited Nonlinear Fibre Optics 1,370,667 4 5,482,667
PROJ-13707-NMTS-SYFTLTD Syft Technolgies Ltd Medical, breath-based real-time diagnostic platform 764,733 4 3,058,933
PROJ-13689-LNNR-HRT The Horticulture and Food Research Institute of New Zealand Ltd Novel insect control technology 350,000 3 1,050,000
PROJ-13699-LNNR-HRT The Horticulture and Food Research Institute of New Zealand Ltd A “green revolution” for fruit trees 350,000 3 1,050,000
PROJ-13690-LNNR-HRT The Horticulture and Food Research Institute of New Zealand Ltd Gastronomics 900,000 5 4,500,000
PROJ-13693-LNNR-HRT The Horticulture and Food Research Institute of New Zealand Ltd Sumptuous Summerfruit 800,000 5 4,000,000
PROJ-13695-LNNR-HRT The Horticulture and Food Research Institute of New Zealand Ltd New Berries 1,500,000 5 7,500,000
PROJ-13687-NMTS-HRT The Horticulture and Food Research Institute of New Zealand Ltd Looking Into Fruit 1,000,000 4 4,000,000
PROJ-13688-NMTS-HRT The Horticulture and Food Research Institute of New Zealand Ltd Sensor labels 1,100,000 4 4,400,000
PROJ-13698-PPS-HRT The Horticulture and Food Research Institute of New Zealand Ltd Low-Impact Disease Control 2,600,000 5 13,000,000
PROJ-13854-IFS-UOA University of Auckland Mineral Wealth of the North Island 450,000 6 2,700,000
PROJ-13834-LNNR-UOA University of Auckland Nutritional epigenomics 520,000 4 2,080,000
PROJ-13775-NMTS-UOA University of Auckland Powering Implantable Devices 320,000 3 960,000
PROJ-13839-NMTS-UOA University of Auckland Colon Cancer Prognostic Tests 350,453 3 1,051,358
PROJ-13866-NMTS-UOA University of Auckland Harvesting trophoblasts 320,000 3 960,000
PROJ-13712-NMTS-UOA University of Auckland Hybrid Plastics 1,334,043 6 8,004,256
PROJ-13756-NMTS-UOA University of Auckland Fast Tracking Drugs 1,228,223 6 7,369,336
PROJ-13829-PPS-UOA University of Auckland Improving cow fertility 1,400,000 5 7,000,000
PROJ-13826-IFS-UOC University of Canterbury Power Quality in Future Electricity Networks (NZ) 350,000 3 1,050,000
PROJ-13922-IFS-UOC University of Canterbury Biomass to syngas and liquid fuel 800,000 6 4,800,000
PROJ-13860-NMTS-UOC University of Canterbury MARS bio-medical imaging 750,000 6 4,500,000
PROJ-13806-IFS-UOO University of Otago SI Precious Metals 400,000 6 2,400,000
PROJ-13761-NMTS-UOO University of Otago Intelligent delivery system for brain chemicals. 350,000 3 1,050,000
PROJ-13783-NMTS-UOO University of Otago Smart Gels 864,000 4 3,456,000
PROJ-13821-NMTS-UOO University of Otago Handheld Diagnostic Devices 1,655,000 6 9,930,000
PROJ-13875-NMTS-UOO University of Otago Designing pharmaceuticals 600,000 3 1,800,000
PROJ-13705-NMTS-UOW University of Waikato Processing titanium alloy powders 599,891 4 2,399,563
PROJ-13713-LNNR-VIALACTIA ViaLactia BioSciences Super cows: super foods! 2,020,000 5 10,100,000
PROJ-13942-GLO-VICLINK Victoria Link Ltd Community Vulnerability and Resilience 799,991 3 2,399,973
PROJ-13719-NMTS-VICLINK Victoria Link Ltd Nanostructures and Composites for Radiation Detection and Imaging 966,667 4 3,866,667
PROJ-13721-NMTS-VICLINK Victoria Link Ltd New NMR Technologies 920,000 4 3,680,000
PROJ-13732-NMTS-VICLINK Victoria Link Ltd Rare-earth nitride spintronics devices 550,000 6 3,300,000
PROJ-13733-NMTS-VICLINK Victoria Link Ltd Magnetic Nanoparticles 450,000 4 1,800,000

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