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Short Listing Complete In Major Funding Round

9 December 2003

Short listing complete in major funding round

After receiving an outstanding response to its latest funding round, the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology has compiled a short list of applicants for $55m per annum of public good science funding.

Since September, expert panels have been working hard with the Foundation to short list proposals in the research areas of innovative foods, natural physical hazards, and manufacturing and service industries (including tourism). In the innovative foods and manufacturing areas the applicants were seeking three to five times the amount of funding available.

The Foundation's Group Manager of Investment Operations, Peter Benfell, says an excellent range of high quality projects have been submitted for consideration but, because of the high level of overbidding and the fixed amount of available funds, about two thirds of applicants will be unsuccessful.

"The Foundation is now working through its intense investment process to ensure that the successful proposals are the ones most likely to result in economic benefits for New Zealand," he says.

Organisations with short listed proposals usually have the opportunity to provide further information, with final assessment to occur in February/March 2004 and funding decisions announced in April 2004.

The Foundation has strategic priorities that it must seek in each research area.

The Manufacturing and Service Industries area focuses on research programmes that have the potential to generate new export business or expand existing business, based on goods and services classed as non-agricultural products. Around $16m per annum will be invested in world-class basic research in emerging and new advanced manufacturing and materials technologies. A further $14m per annum will be invested in research that supports existing industries to grow exports (to gain this funding research teams must have strong relationships with the industry groups that will eventually use the results of the research).

Approximately $14m per annum will be invested in Innovative Foods research that assists New Zealand companies grow exports from added value foods and beverages.

In Natural Physical Hazards $11m per annum will be invested in research that improves the resilience of communities by reducing the risks of natural hazards and improves the ability to quickly recover from the effects of these hazards.

In general, the Foundation was impressed with the quality of the individual proposals it received and in Innovative Foods the proposals were particularly strong.

Peter Benfell says: "We received some great applications that propose to work on new innovative food products and new processing technologies to create 'value-added' exports. These products will command a sustained premium in international markets, due to the high level of knowledge 'embedded' in their production."

"In all the research areas, the applicants have shown a much-improved level of industry and end-user participation - showing that the research organisations have been responding to our strategies and are really thinking about how their research can improve the wealth of New Zealand in the long-run."

"We are excited about the proposals we have short listed. The research is of high quality and has focused on the key issues."


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