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National Science Challenges important for NZ prosperity

1 May 2013

National Science Challenges important for New Zealand prosperity

“The National Science Challenges announced today are important in two aspects – they will each contribute hugely to New Zealand’s social, environmental and economic prosperity; and overall, they will inspire a generation of young people to see the opportunities for themselves and their country in science-based innovation,” says Anthony Scott, chief executive of Science New Zealand.

“They set big and demanding objectives, are exciting for both scientists and the wider public, and are globally significant in their science requirements. They will require close engagement of scientists and the wider public in all elements of their pathway to achievement.

“There is a lot of work yet to be done on the practical implementation. The Government has, however, indicated a welcome pragmatism to enable the Challenges to be up and running as soon as possible. Building on existing collaborations and governance structures avoids fragmentation, associated compliance costs, and recognises that the system is increasingly closely connected.

“The injection of a further $73 million to take the funding to $133.5 million over four years will accelerate that. The impact of the Challenges will be much greater than even this indicates, as programmes across institutions and government are realigned over time.

“Crown Research Institutes know from their own experience that multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary approaches enable science and sectors to look beyond their walls, identify gaps and create new opportunities and possibilities for New Zealand. We look forward to working with the Government and other research groups to progress these exciting Challenges.”

Science New Zealand promotes the value of science and technology for New Zealand. Its Board comprises the CEOs of the Crown Research Institutes which collectively employ 3,600 staff, with annual revenues of $636 million. Two-thirds of the nation’s publicly-funded science researchers, outside health and IT, work at CRIs and CRIs undertake three-quarters of research contracted out by business.

The Crown Research Institutes undertake science research for public and private sector markets in New Zealand and abroad. They also provide the essential underlying capability in people, facilities and knowledge for the long term future of science and innovation in New Zealand.

The Crown Research Institutes are: AgResearch, ESR, GNS Science, Landcare Research, NIWA, Plant & Food Research, and Scion.

ENDS

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