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Budget enables RS&T to boost productivity for New Zealand

Science New Zealand
For immediate release 16 May 2013

Budget enables RS&T to boost productivity for New Zealand

Anthony Scott, chief executive of Science New Zealand, commented on the 2013 Budget:

“Last month, the Statistics New Zealand R&D Survey showed that the private sector had dramatically increased its spend on R&D over the past two years.

“Today’s Budget shows that the central government is also committed to significantly increasing the ability of RS&T to boost the nation’s productivity and ability to meet the big challenges of our society.

“The link between RS&T and national wealth and wellbeing is now firmly established, with sustained backing by both public and private sectors. Businesses know that innovation enables market access and higher premiums from exports; and science investment is now a centrepiece in Budget announcements.

“Today’s Budget will help inspire and develop the young people the nation desperately needs in science and engineering. It supports new knowledge as well as investing in RS&T for business and the public good that delivers excellence and relevance for New Zealand.

“The National Science Challenges will go well beyond business as usual. They support new ways of doing things, expansion into promising areas, and outcomes that will make a big difference in areas that really matter to New Zealanders.

“Additional science and engineering places at tertiary level addresses a major skills deficit. About half of Crown Research Institute PhD recruits each year come from abroad. The National Science Challenges Panel points out that the task of encouraging young people into science and engineering extends well before tertiary study. Increasing the places available for them to come into is a great start.

“CRIs will also welcome the signal that RS&T students need to have more exposure to the private sector during their study. CRIs have been providing experience in a research-intensive commercial environment for more than 500 students annually for many years now. This has been good for students, for CRIs, and for the industries that students go into.

“The simplified business grants, and their increased funding, will further encourage private sector investment on R&D that makes a difference. The R&D Survey reported that CRIs now do three-quarters of the R&D that businesses contract out to external research agencies. This shows that businesses are seeking external expertise and facilities, to complement internal investment in people and equipment.

“A richer, more dynamic RS&T system adding value for New Zealand is now well in train.”

Ends

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