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PSA pleased at guaranteed CRI funding boost

March 30, 2009
For Immediate Use
PSA pleased at decision to boost guaranteed funding for CRIs

The Public Service Association is pleased the government has decided to increase guaranteed funding for Crown Research Institutes to enable them to focus on research in the national interest rather than making a profit for the Crown.

The PSA has 2500 staff working at the country’s eight Crown Research Institutes. Each
CRI is based around a productive sector of the economy or a grouping of natural resources.

Research, Science and Technology Minister Wayne Mapp has announced that the government is making changes to CRIs based on recommendations in a report issued by the Crown Research Institute Taskforce on March 4.

Dr Mapp says the government will fund each CRI to achieve its core purpose by providing more direct funding on a longer term basis. It will also provide greater clarity on the role and purpose of each CRI and strengthen the accountability of CRI boards by introducing a set of performance indicators.

“We support the decision to provide a greater level of guaranteed funding for CRIs,” says PSA president Paula Scholes.

“We’ve been saying for some time that CRIs needed to be given a more stable financial base so they can focus on research that will boost the economy.”

“We’re pleased that this is being recognised and will be waiting for the government to follow through on this decision.”

“We hope that having more guaranteed funding will help CRIs address the difficulty they have recruiting science staff because of their low pay rates.”

“The science sector is low paid and CRI science staff have the lowest pay rates within the science sector,” says Paula Scholes.

A HayGroup survey conducted last year showed pay for the ‘science market’ lagged behind the ‘general NZ market’ by as much as 11%. Within the science sector CRI science staff are paid less than science staff at universities and at other organisations in the science sector.

“CRIs are having to recruit scientists from overseas and struggle to compete with overseas universities and research institutes that pay much higher salaries,” says Paula Scholes.

“If the government is serious about making CRIs more powerful engines of economic growth they need to ensure CRIs are able to provide pay rates that enable them to recruit and retain high quality science staff,” says Paula Scholes.


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