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Science New Zealand on Budget 2015

Science New Zealand on Budget 2015

Anthony Scott, chief executive of Science New Zealand, commented on the 2015 Budget:

“Today’s Budget strengthens areas critical to a productive, competitive economy: capability development in science and engineering, and supporting science and innovation investment into areas that will make a difference for New Zealand.

“The Government has carried through its election commitment to consider regional research institutes. Government is setting aside up to $25 million over the next three years for one to three new privately-led regional research institutes for possible establishment over the next four to five years.

“CRIs will be keen to work with government on this process. Any new institutes should complement the CRIs and other existing providers’ extensive existing regional networks and presence.

“The business case process is the place to ask the hard questions of each proposal. Criteria should include adding value over and above well-established regional capability, avoiding duplication of facilities and capability or adding complexity to the system.

“Crown Research Institutes employ 3600 FTEs staff around New Zealand, across some 50 sites from Kerikeri in Northland to Lauder and Invermay in Otago. Many are co-located with other CRIs and/or universities and private sector companies to form critical mass. They are well-established integral elements in the local economies, linked with sectors, economic agencies and Maori, and bring national and global networks to the local region.

“The R&D eco-system overall is moving towards greater sector and regional collaboration across research organisations and government, which CRIs are actively encouraging. In doing so it is important that the amount of funding going into front-line science is maximised.

“We look forward to the release by the Minister of his National Statement of Science Investment. We support science research funding being flexible, less complex and more closely focussed on research that is excellent and relevant to New Zealand.

“We are hopeful that the current review of CRI Core Funding will also support the substantial value it adds to the national system, ensuring connectivity to sectors, international linkages and science diplomacy and attention to current needs and developing new opportunities for New Zealand from our science.”

“The 14 per cent increase in grant funding available through Callaghan Innovation will encourage more businesses to grow through innovation. This follows on from other changes such as deductions for black-hole R&D spending and allowing start-ups to cash out tax losses from R&D spending.

“The number of businesses investing in R&D has been growing in recent years, as they see that companies with R&D-led products or services have higher earnings and greater competitiveness in world markets. They are now spending over $1m a week more on R&D than in 2012, and spending twice as much as government on R&D.

“Businesses are also looking externally for expertise which can have an impact. More than 3 out of four dollars spent externally by business on R&D is spent with CRIs, and this has been increasing in recent years.

“Further increases in tuition subsidy or places for tertiary training in science, agriculture and engineering is welcome, as is the commitment to increase New Zealander’s engagement with science and technology. CRIs are well engaged with universities in supporting students develop capability specific to New Zealand needs.”


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