Archive for the ‘Science funding’ Category

New seven-year contracts are announced on the 25th anniversary of the CRIs

Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith has welcomed the start of new funding contracts for New Zealand’s Crown Research Institutes (CRIs), which he says will enable a more strategic approach to science as the science organisations celebrate their 25th anniversaries during 2017.

The seven-year contracts, which combined represent a $1.2 billion investment, are the first to be issued through the Government’s new Strategic Science Investment Funding (SSIF) investment mechanism.

The move from five-year to seven-year funding contracts follows a review of CRI core funding to ensure alignment with the vision and design principles set out in the Government’s National Statement of Science Investment (NSSI).

The review found that increased stable funding would enable CRIs to operate more strategically and implement a number of improvements to deliver greater benefit to the science system.

CRI funding accounts for around 15 per cent of the Government’s total science investment and represents a significant proportion of our national research activity.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has worked closely with each CRI to develop ‘Platform Plans’ that describe how each agency will use its funding as well as targets and metrics to measure its performance.

Platform Plans focus on purchasing science outcomes rather than funding organisations or individuals. They also provide a framework to support science capability that makes a critical and enduring contribution to New Zealand while still having the flexibility to shift funding as priorities change, Mr Goldsmith says.

Myrtle rust is on the agenda for new NZ-Aust research collaboration

The Government is committing $4.46 million for three new New Zealand-Australia research projects aimed at delivering wide-ranging benefits to New Zealand, Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith says.

The funding of the partnerships through the Catalyst Fund, which supports international research partnerships and scientific cooperation, reinforces the Government’s support for collaboration across the Tasman through the New Zealand – Australia Science, Research and Innovation Cooperation Agreement, signed in February 2017.

One of the successful projects involves the New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research in collaboration with the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries. It will undertake research on key New Zealand plant species’ susceptibility to Myrtle Rust.

The other projects are:

* The University of Auckland in collaboration with Murdoch Children’s Research Institute will investigate links between genes, environment, molecular physiology and health through early- and mid-life to improve the health of our children.

* Massey University in collaboration with CSIRO will explore turning metal-organic frameworks into disruptive technologies and applications including new catalysts for eliminating nitrous oxide greenhouse gas emissions.

“These projects reflect the fact that Australia and New Zealand face many of the same issues and opportunities that can be addressed through high-quality complementary research,” says Mr Goldsmith.

“In particular, the research into Myrtle Rust will be important for our ongoing efforts to control the spread of the disease, and manage its impacts on native species such as Manuka, with its importance to the honey industry.

International partnerships are fundamental for New Zealand’s science and innovation system because they bring new knowledge, ideas, people, technology and investment into our system, he said.

More information on the successful Catalyst Fund projects can be found HERE, and the New Zealand – Australia Science, Research and Innovation Cooperation Agreement can be found HERE.

Science gets more Budget funding – but there other snouts in the innovation trough

The word “science” popped up twice in the Budget speech (HERE) delivered by Finance Minister Steven Joyce today.

Hopes would have been raised by Mr Joyce being a former Minister of Scienc and Innovation and of his mentioning his first Budget’s investment of $1 billion over four years “in sustaining the strong economic plan that is getting New Zealand to grow”.

First, he said, the Government is allocating $373 million in the second round of its Innovative New Zealand programme.

Good-oh. That’s where the science money comes from.

Let these words from the Budget speech explain it:

“Innovative New Zealand is a series of science, R&D and skills initiatives that are working together to lift the innovation activity of New Zealand companies.

“The funding includes $82 million for the Government’s pre-eminent applied science fund – the Endeavour fund; $132 million for Tertiary Education to ensure young New Zealanders obtain the skills we need; and $75 million for Callaghan Innovation’s R&D grants to help our tech companies succeed.

“It’s all about adding more value to our export volumes. Investment in innovation is hugely important for lifting our productivity and providing for our future prosperity.”

The two mentions of science can be found in the first of those three paragraphs.

Mr Joyce went on to say $134 million over four years was being allocated to advance New Zealand’s Trade Agenda 2030, including opening new embassies in Dublin and Colombo, “as we work towards our ambitious target of having 90 per cent of goods exports covered by trade agreements”.

There is $304 million towards the ongoing development of our screen sector, and $146 million in new funding to grow our tourism infrastructure around the country so every region can benefit from the growth in our tourism industry.

The Budget speech also mentioned $93 million in new Maori development initiatives, including $10 million to support the development of Māori tourism, and $17 million for Māori housing initiatives.

Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith on May 10 announced the additional $74.6 million in funding through the Innovative New Zealand programme in Budget 2017 (HERE) to meet the growing demand for Callaghan Innovation’s research and development (R&D) Growth Grants.

Today he made a further announcement (HERE), fleshing out Mr Joyce’s mention of an additional $81.9 million of new operating funding over four years to support high-impact, mission-led programmes of science through the Endeavour Fund.

The new funding lifts the Government’s total investment through the Endeavour Fund, New Zealand’s largest contestable science fund, to $829.2 million over the next four years.

The Endeavour Fund complements the Government’s other investments in mission-led science.

“Budget 2017 demonstrates the Government’s ongoing commitment to delivering on the vision set out in the National Statement of Science Investment, to create a highly dynamic science system that enriches New Zealand, making a more visible, measurable contribution to our productivity through excellent science,” Mr Goldsmith said.

The Budget adds $255.6 million over four years of funding for science and innovation, growing total Government investment in science and innovation by 26 per cent from $1.32 billion in 2015 to $1.66 billion by 2021. This builds on the $410.5 million investment through Budget 2016.

The Government is investing $4 million of new operational funding over four year to help reduce emissions.

Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett said this money will be spread across government (thinly, dare we say) to come up with costed, tested and modelled policy options to meet its Paris Agreement emissions target of 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

The Emissions Trading Scheme is being reviewed.

Other announcements included $18.4 million over four years to strengthen biosecurity systems and protect our borders.

Marsden Fund preliminary proposals for 2017

Preliminary proposals from AgResearch, Landcare Research, Plant & Food Research and Scion are among those submitted to the Marsden Fund.

This year there were 1106 preliminary proposals, 776 standards and 330 fast-starts.

This was similar to last year’s 1097, the third year of a slightly reduced number of applicants.

In total, 252 applicants have been invited to submit full proposals – 161 standards and 91 fast-starts.

The Royal Society, which has posted details HERE, expects about 140 proposals will eventually be contracted. The projected amount of funding available is approximately $84.8 million (excluding GST).

Budget 2017 provides an extra $74.6m to further grow business R&D

Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith has announced an additional $74.6 million in funding through the Innovative New Zealand programme in Budget 2017 to meet the growing demand for Callaghan Innovation’s research and development Growth Grants.

The additional funding means a total of $657.2 million is now available over four years through the Growth Grants programme.

The new funding follows on from the $761.4 million investment in Budget 2016 through the Innovative New Zealand package and continuing investment in science and innovation over recent years.

New data released earlier this year by Statistics New Zealand showed a significant increase in the sums Kiwi companies are spending on R&D. In the two years to 2016 business R&D increased by 29 per cent and Callaghan Innovation grant recipients increased their own R&D spending by 46 per cent.

Growth Grants were designed to provide a predictable, rules-based platform for businesses to increase their investment in R&D and encourages the development of a strong business R&D ecosystem in New Zealand.

Govt ploughs $2m into engaging young kiwis with science

Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith has announced $2 million of funding for 41 projects from the 2017 Unlocking Curious Minds contestable fund.

This fund particularly focuses on projects that engage young New Zealanders who have fewer opportunities to be involved with science and technology.

“It’s about giving young Kiwis more choices. Taking part in science and technology keeps more career options open to young people,” says Mr Goldsmith.

Funded projects will be led by a wide variety of organisations including primary schools, tertiary education organisations, Crown Research Institutes, museums, trusts, and companies.

The Fund offered two types of grants in the 2017 round: up to $30,000 for local or community projects, and up to $150,000 for regional or national projects.

More information about the Unlocking Curious Minds contestable fund and other projects supported under Curious Minds HERE.

Climate change – new research findings and more funding for five projects

Research published this week shows regional climate variability caused an “unusual” period in which some of New Zealand’s glaciers grew bigger, while glaciers worldwide were shrinking.

News of these findings came just a few days after the Deep South National Science Challenge announced funding of about $2 million for five new research projects to help New Zealanders better understand their future climate.

The funding is part of the Deep South National Science Challenge which is tasked with enabling New Zealanders to adapt, manage risk and thrive in a changing climate.

This funding round is focused on the potential impacts and implications of climate change for New Zealand to support planning and decision-making around extreme weather events, drought, changes in typical weather patterns and sea level rise.

Central to the challenge is strengthening the links and interactions with the New Zealand Earth System Model. This numerical model will simulate current climate and make projections of future climates with different scenarios of future global greenhouse gas emissions.

Ultimately the Deep South Challenge will help advance understanding of Southern Hemisphere influences on the global climate and give New Zealanders a greater level of certainty in the face of a changing climate.

The new projects include incorporating climate change impacts in land-use suitability.

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