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New funding to strengthen key areas of research


New funding to strengthen key areas of research

New funding to strengthen areas of university research that are important to New Zealand's society and economy was announced today by Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary Education) Steve Maharey.

Expected to be around $8 million, the funding responds to priorities identified in the 2003 Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF) evaluation, a comprehensive survey of research capability in the Tertiary Education sector released earlier this year.

"We need to ensure that our research capability is strong enough in the areas of most benefit to New Zealand," Steve Maharey said.

"This fund is an important step to strengthen our university research community so it can make an increasingly significant contribution to the nation's economic and social development."

Steve Maharey said the Tertiary Education Commission would be talking with universities in the New Year about the process for allocating the fund.

"A sector workshop is planned to identify the five or fewer most important gaps to address through the fund and the best low cost allocation process for the fund. The workshop is also intended to gain the sector’s view on how capability can be best built in each of the areas identified.

"Only universities will be eligible to be lead agencies for funding and there will be a focus on building capacity around existing strengths identified by the PBRF quality evaluation round.

"It is intended that funding will be allocated through a competitive process and universities will be restricted in the number of applications they can submit as lead agency.

"There will also be a requirement for collaboration with other high quality researchers in the subjects from other tertiary education organisations and research providers outside the tertiary sector.

"I have set a 31 May 2005 deadline for the agencies involved to report back on the areas to be funded, and the criteria to be used for assessment."

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