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Government Budget Shows Faith in New-Look CRIs

Government Budget Shows Faith in New-Look CRIs

The chief executive of Science New Zealand, Anthony Scott, comments:

“The Government is showing its faith in the new-look Crown Research Institutes by providing, for the first time, a guaranteed sum for each CRI. Collectively the 8 CRIs will get $215 million (excluding GST) as ‘Core Funding’. This is almost a third of the total CRI revenue in the last financial year ($690M), although the percentage will vary from CRI to CRI.

“The money comes from amalgamating some contracts repeatedly won by the CRI over many years in particular science areas. Not all such contracts have been transferred, as enough has to remain for contest amongst all research providers.

“While not new money, it is a significant step which will maximise the value that New Zealand gets from its science investment. Having a reasonable sum of money enables a CRI to plan research programmes with confidence alongside its key stakeholders.

“It follows from the 2010 CRI Taskforce which clarified the purpose and role for each CRI. It recognised that while CRIs have an information advantage over central funders on both science and sector knowledge, they were being held back by cumbersome and time-consuming competitive processes. Smarter, faster decisions and closer, more flexible sector engagement was required.

“CRI Boards will be fully accountable for progress towards agreed purposes and outcomes.

“In addition, CRIs are working together and with other research organisations to actively identify areas where effectiveness and efficiency can be improved. This includes shared use of science research facilities, complementary and aligned research programmes and reducing back-office costs. The aim is to create the best science teams and outcomes for New Zealand.

“Budget 2011 delivers science research funding through Votes such as Health and Education as well as Science & Innovation. In difficult times, it is reassuring to see that investment is sustained in these key platforms for economic and environmental prosperity.”

ENDS

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