Archive for the ‘Government funding’ Category

Science Board appointment announced

Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith has announced the appointment of Dr Andrew McLeod to the Science Board for a term of three years

The Science Board is responsible for investing funding used predominantly by research organisations for science, technology, research, and related activities.

Dr McLeod studied Pharmacy at Otago University before completing his PhD and post-doctoral studies in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of California in San Francisco. He has held senior management positions at Douglas Pharmaceuticals, Dow Pharmaceutical Sciences and Douglas Nutrition Ltd.

Currently, Dr McLeod is leading the medical division of Douglas Pharmaceuticals Global Dermatology Franchise in New Zealand.

“More information on the Science Board can be found on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s website.

$85 million for new education and research facilities at Lincoln University

The Government will provide Lincoln University with $85 million to support the construction of new education and research facilities to be shared with AgResearch on the university’s campus.

The investment will help Lincoln University’s recovery from the Canterbury earthquakes by replacing earthquake damaged buildings with modern teaching and research spaces.

Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment and Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith, announcing the investment today, said it would benefit “students, the primary sector, and New Zealand as a whole”.

“The new 27,000m² joint facility will enable increased collaboration, with researchers and academics organised by discipline rather than organisation, leading to an increase in the quantity, relevance, and quality of agricultural related research.

“The new facility will make an important contribution to creating a globally competitive agri-tech industry. By creating better links between research and industry the new facility will improve innovation and the applicability and speed of technology transfer to industry,” Mr Goldsmith says.

The new buildings will be a key part of the Lincoln Hub – a specialist land-based innovation cluster in partnership with Lincoln University, AgResearch, Plant and Food Research, Landcare Research and DairyNZ.

“The new facility will assist the growth of the ecosystem of science and education at Lincoln. It will play an important role in promoting a career in the agricultural sector for prospective students and staff, and will increase the number and quality of land-based sector graduates.

“I’m excited for this innovative new facility and I look forward to seeing its benefits realised,” Mr Goldsmith says.

The new facility will accommodate almost 700 staff, students and academics and is comprised of five linked buildings which will be home to Lincoln University science research and teaching spaces, AgResearch laboratories, corporate facilities, and office spaces and facilities for DairyNZ.

Construction of the new buildings is scheduled to be completed by December 2019.

Assessment report calls for improvements to the Marsden Fund

Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith has released a report which details a number of measures to ensure the Marsden Fund, the Government’s premier fund for excellent investigator-led research, continues to be effective and fit-for-purpose.

The report found the Marsden Fund is highly-regarded, well-run and effective at selecting high-quality research within its current settings, but a number of improvements are needed to ensure it continues to deliver benefits in the future.

The Marsden Fund Council, which oversees the Fund’s operation, has been asked to develop a strategic direction which shows how the Fund will be managed to achieve its objectives and contribute to the National Statement of Science Investment vision and Goals.

The strategic direction will require the Marsden Council to:

  • Develop an Investment Plan that sets out the strategic direction of the Fund, addresses the issues identified in the assessment, and shows how the Fund will be managed to achieve its objectives; and
  • Develop a Performance Framework that will include periodic review by international experts to provide assurance of the value of the Government’s investment.

The implementation of any changes to the operation of the Fund will be clearly signalled through the Investment Plan. To assist the Council in its expanded role and to provide a strong, independent voice, the Minister of Science and Innovation will also be including more international Councillors on the Council through future appointment rounds.

“For the last 23 years the Marsden Fund has been undertaking high-quality scientific research and with these changes the Fund can plan for the next 23,” says Mr Goldsmith.

The Marsden Fund Assessment of Strategy and Management Report can be found on the MBIE website, HERE.

Up to $4m available as part of Fifth Mātauranga Capability Fund

Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith is back on deck, making his first media announcement of the year jointly with Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell. The ministers  have opened a fifth round of the Te Pūnaha Hihiko – Vision Mātauranga Capability Fund in which up to $4 million is available for successful projects.

“We are seeking proposals that strengthen connections between Māori and the science and innovation system. This fund will continue to foster a greater understanding of how science and technology can contribute to the aspirations of Māori organisations, for the benefit of New Zealand,” says Mr Goldsmith.

“The government is investing in projects that contribute to the development of skilled people and organisations undertaking research that support the four themes of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) Vision Mātauranga policy.”

The Vision Mātauranga policy aims to unlock the science and innovation potential of Māori knowledge, resources and people.

It focuses on four themes:

  • indigenous innovation – contributing to economic growth through distinctive science and innovation
  • taiao/environment – achieving environmental sustainability through iwi and hapū relationships with land and sea
  • hauora/health – improving health and social wellbeing
  • mātauranga – exploring indigenous knowledge and science and innovation.

“We know that Māori success is New Zealand’s success and we have already seen innovative results that have wide reaching benefits from the programmes funded to date.

“Unlocking the science and innovation potential of Māori knowledge, resources and people will have major economic, social and environmental benefits for New Zealand.” Mr Flavell says.

A total of $3.97 million was invested in 33 new programmes through the fund in 2016, a substantial investment that recognises the value of Māori participation in science and innovation.

Applications must be with the Ministry of Business Innovation and Enterprise by April 5. Successful applicants will be announced in May.

$3.1 million towards climate change research projects

Ooh, goody. More money for ag science.

Good, at least, for those working in the climate change area whose projects have been given an official nod of approval for Government funding.

The Ministry for Primary Industries today announced 13 research projects have received funding approvals totalling $3.1 million through its Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change (SLMACC) research programme.

SLMACC supports new climate change knowledge generation in the agriculture and forestry sectors for adaption, mitigation, and cross-cutting issues.

The ministry’s Director General, Martyn Dunne, said it’s essential to invest in research to better understand the future operating environment and how New Zealand should adapt.

“We set research priority topics each funding round based on themes areas we want to investigate further for the benefit of primary industries. We consult internal and external experts to determine those topics.”

This year there were 12 priority topic areas under the three themes:

  • impacts of climate change and adaption
  • mitigation of agricultural and forestry greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
  • cross-cutting issues, including economic analysis, life-cycle analysis, farm catchment systems analysis, and social impact.

“We received an extremely high calibre of applicants and were very impressed with the proposed research topics. Each project will take up to 3 years to complete, and the findings will help researchers, government, and farmers better understand, adapt to and mitigate climate change effects in New Zealand’s primary sectors.

“At each project’s end, the full report will be made available on this website and the Climate Cloud website, and user friendly summaries will be made more widely available.”

More information can be found ..

Another bucket of science funding – $35m provided for Entrepreneurial Universities

While scientists may wonder if the Government is doing everything it can to keep good people from taking their expertise and knowledge overseas, the Government has come up with a programme – and funding – to lure overseas scientists to this country.

Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce has announced a $35 million investment over four years for ‘Entrepreneurial Universities’, an initiative to attract world-leading entrepreneurial researchers to New Zealand to further strengthen our universities and “our broader fast-growing innovation ecosystem”.

The programme aims to encourage more of the world’s leading researchers and their teams to locate their labs here and base themselves in New Zealand, Mr Joyce said.

“We are especially wanting to recruit people with an established record in innovation and entrepreneurship in the top ‘maker’ disciplines, to help grow the pipeline of excellent innovative start-up companies in New Zealand, and train the next generation of scientific entrepreneurs.”

Up to 15-20 world-leading researchers and their teams were expected to be brought here over a three year period, he said.

The Entrepreneurial Universities programme will involve the Government entering into a 50/50 partnership with individual universities to attract and support named researchers and their teams to work in the university for an initial period of three to five years.

All the universities will be invited to bid for the opportunity.

The programme follows an approach to Mr Joyce and the the Tertiary Education Commission earlier this year by the University of Auckland and will be modelled on similar programmes around the world including the USA and Britain.

The initiative is part of Budget 2016’s $761.4 million “Innovative New Zealand” package and will complement increases in the funds for researchers already based here in New Zealand.

Mr Joyce said:

“Across the Marsden Fund, the Endeavour Fund, the Catalyst Fund, the Health Research Council, and other associated investment mechanisms, the government is investing an extra $410 million over the next four years in New Zealand science. The Entrepreneurial Universities fund will add another dimension to that comprehensive investment.”

He said Entrepreneurial Universities is consistent with the National Statement of Science Investment and is a key initiative in the Innovation stream of the Business Growth Agenda.

Sustainable Farming Fund projects announced

The Ministry for Primary Industries has announced a $6.9 million investment over three years in 25 new projects through the Sustainable Farming Fund.

The fund supports farmers and researchers involved at grass-roots level to tackle shared problems or to develop new opportunities.

The ministry’s director-general, Martyn Dunne, said:

“Every year we receive a very high calibre of project applications, and this year was no different. This year’s projects cover nine primary sectors including horticulture, forestry, dairy and meat.

“Each project has a number of milestones to reach over the three years. As milestones are reached, information is shared among the community who benefits from the project. Through the fund, we are able to support industries and communities to help each other carry out applied research and field trials.

“Our investment programmes team supports each project through their milestones and each year we are pleased by the quality of projects, and the results they produce.”

Supported by the Sustainable Farming Fund, some of the problems or opportunities being looked into include:

  • optimising pollination of Gold3 kiwifruit under hail netting;
  • resource development for new-entrant deer farmers;
  • reducing use of antimicrobials when managing mastitis;
  • understanding and managing grain storage pests;
  • increasing the market share for New Zealand olive oil.