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Building Innovation

Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, DCNZM FRSNZ FMedSci FRS
Chief Science Advisor

Media release

21 August 2012

Building Innovation

Today the Government released a report Building Innovation. This report indicates a clear commitment to and a direction of travel for improving the state of the science and innovation systems. In many ways it reflects a changed mindset about the role of science and science-based innovation in New Zealand’s future. It recognizes the importance of science to a strong and innovative business sector.

I am also pleased that the report also notes “Science and research can provide the evidence to improve the policy decisions”.

The report acknowledges the comparatively low but increasing public and particularly private sector investment in R&D and sets credible targets for addressing this investment gap. It sets a goal of reaching 0.8% GDP expenditure on public science as fiscal conditions allow and sets a credible goal of reaching 1% private sector investment in R&D.

The report is frank about many of the issues that need to be addressed, notes the significant strides that have been achieved and highlights a number of initiatives either underway or soon to be commenced. For example it notes planned review of the Centres of Research Excellence and the PBRF, the approach that will be taken to developing a new science funding tool, the National Science Challenges, and the intent to review national science priorities. The innovation agenda includes details on the Advanced Technology Institute, building the innovation workforce, improving IP policy and enhancing international linkages.

This report is a particularly significant report for the science community. While it is focused on the innovation agenda, the commitment to invest in science is clear. Science also has much broader contributions to make to the social and environmental development of New Zealand: these are matters encompassed in a report I will release later this week.

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