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Science NZ welcomes benchtop RS&T increase

Science New Zealand
Science New Zealand welcomes benchtop RS&T increases / higher profile for RS&T


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
28 May 2009

Anthony Scott, chief executive of Science New Zealand said:

“We are delighted to see that, in a very constrained environment, Budget 2009 has delivered some real increases to benchtop RS&T.

“The Prime Minister’s Science Prizes ($1m pa) and the appointment of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Adviser also signal that the public are being appealed to in a new, high profile, way.

“This will help build a broad, national constituency for RS&T investment and careers. The business sector is engaging as never before, with a 20 per cent rise in its RS&T investment over the last two years. That is the thinking that will create higher wage jobs in New Zealand and build export businesses.

“The Budget recognises that RS&T is critical to improving New Zealand’s productivity and thus our national wealth and living standards.

“At the more basic science end, the increases to the Marsden Fund (up 24 per cent, or $9m pa), Health Research (up 13 per cent; $8m pa) and the PBRF (Performance Based Research Fund (now at $250m pa) are welcome.

“The Government has recognised the distinctive contribution of its Crown Research Institutes, which employ about two-thirds of the nation’s science researchers. The 20 per cent increase ($10m pa, to $61m) in the Capability Fund is very welcome. The only fund exclusively available to CRIs, it is about 8 per cent of total CRI revenue. It will be instrumental in helping CRIs retain or develop RS&T capability of particular importance to New Zealand, delivering both excellence and relevance.

“We look forward to the detail on 2 June regarding the Primary Growth Partnership. The injections of $30m, $40m, $50m and $70m over the coming four years, with matching private sector investment, sound very attractive. All manner of technologies and industries can flow from developments in the primary sector, so the spin-off effect should be considerable.”

Notes to Editors
Science New Zealand represents the eight Crown Research Institutes, with more than 4,400 staff dedicated to the economic, environmental, social and knowledge wealth of New Zealand. This is about two-thirds of the nation’s science researchers.

The Crown Research Institutes undertake research for government and private sector markets in New Zealand and abroad. They also provide the essential underlying capability in people, facilities and knowledge for the long term future of science and innovation in this country.

The Crown Research Institutes are: AgResearch, ESR, GNS Science, Industrial Research, Landcare Research, NIWA, Plant & Food Research, and Scion.

ENDS

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