Govt announces $139m investment in new research programmes

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce has announced that $139 million over six years will be invested in new science research programmes.

The 48 research programmes receiving funding in the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s 2014 science investment round are in the biological industries, high-value manufacturing and services, energy and minerals, environmental, and health and society sectors.

“Science and innovation have crucial roles in achieving high-quality outcomes for New Zealand. The goal of the Government’s science investment is to produce excellent science with the highest capacity to benefit New Zealanders,” Mr Joyce says.

“The projects announced today will help to boost the productivity and competitiveness of our economy and generate knowledge that will help us make informed decisions as a society.”

The majority of funding available this year was in the high-value manufacturing and services sector, with $95.24 million invested over the next six years. The successful proposals cover a variety of research topics reflecting the diversity within this sector. The topics include: materials for use in manufacturing, biocides, security tools and x-ray imaging. These projects are all targeted at achieving particular outcomes.

For the first time, funds have also been allocated for the second phase of the Smart Ideas funding initiative, in which investments support the development of ideas-driven research. Phase one focused on the discovery and preliminary research into novel and promising ideas, while the second phase is designed to help applicants make their ideas a reality to achieve market potential.

Nine proposals have been approved to proceed to phase two, with topics ranging from implantable devices for monitoring chronic disease to novel pest-control technologies.

Through the submission process, 208 science research proposals were received. The final investment decisions were made by the Science Board, following a robust peer review and assessment process by independent experts.

The new research contracts will commence from 1 October 2014 and run for up to six years. The Smart Ideas projects will run for two years.

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