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Science policy high on agenda

Science policy high on agenda

It has been a big week for science in the policy sphere, with a number of important announcements drawing attention to the government's focus on innovation.

Science funding winners: The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has announced the recipients of the 2012 Science-led Contestable Investment Round.

A total of $133 million in new research grants has been be awarded to 47 research projects in the biological industries; energy and minerals; the environment; hazards and infrastructure; and health and society funding categories. A total of 299 applications were received by the Ministry.

"Science is both a driver of economic growth and a strong platform for evidence based decision making across society," Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce said in a media release, "These projects have been selected on the basis of their high-quality science and the difference they can make."

Absent from the announced recipients were projects falling under the category of High-Value Manufacturing, which will be announced in the next few weeks.

Sir Paul honoured in new institute: High-value Manufacturing will be the focus of the new Advanced Technology Institute - or, as it will now be known, The Callaghan Institute, in honor of the late Sir Paul Callaghan.

President of the Royal Society of New Zealand, Prof Sir David Skegg, said, "In naming the new Advanced Technology Institute after Sir Paul Callaghan, a great New Zealand scientist is celebrated, and we hope the institute will put science at the heart of its innovation."

Innovation Progress Report:The announcement that the institute was to be named after the late Sir Paul Callaghan was made by Steven Joyce at a business breakfast held for the release of the Building Innovation report, which outlines the progress and details of over 50 government innovation initiatives.

The report is the the second in a series of six progress reports released under the Government's Business Growth Agenda.

Small advanced economies meeting: New Zealand is to host an international meeting in November with a view to developing a network of small advanced economies. Participants include Denmark, Finland, Israel, Singapore and New Zealand, and possible others.

Steven Joyce said it was intended that "each country will contribute senior leaders in the area of science and innovation, as well as in foreign policy and trade policy.

"They will discuss how our countries can best position themselves for growth by developing and harnessing the power of innovation."

ENDS

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