Archive for the ‘Science funding’ Category

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.

Continue reading

Up to $25.9m expected to be invested in revised research partnership programme

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce has announced a refreshed version of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) research partnership programme will open for applications in December with funding awarded in late-2017.

After completing a full review of the programme, he said, the Government expects to invest up to $25.9 million over seven years in the first round of a revised Partnerships Scheme.

The refreshed scheme has moved from the previous on-demand mechanism to a more structured annual, but still very open, call for proposals, he says.

MBIE has published an Investment Plan and Gazette Notice for the refreshed Partnerships Scheme, setting out the details about how and where investments will be made in future.

“We intend to diversify the mix of sectors participating in the scheme. This will include encouraging partnerships from firms or sectors that have not received funding to date to consider applying to this scheme,” Mr Joyce says.

The Partnerships Scheme provides a means of stimulating collaborative sector-led research in areas of longer term potential for the New Zealand economy. It requires a minimum of two separate partners alongside government.

“This scheme plays an important role among other government investment mechanisms for encouraging the growth of business R&D. These include the Primary Growth Partnership, which focuses on improvements to the end-to-end value chain associated with primary industries, and Callaghan Innovation R&D grants, which provide direct support for individual firms’ R&D,” says Mr Joyce.

The National Statement of Science Investment, released by MBIE in late 2015, sets out the government’s role as a research investor and its expectations for excellence and impact in research that receives public funding.

Any one partnership programme is eligible for a maximum of 14 years co-funding (over two contract terms). The cash contribution rate from sector partners has also been increased to 60 per cent in the first cycle and 70 per cent in the second cycle to reflect the level of private benefit from the scheme.

The revised partnership scheme will have an increased focus on “excellent research” and a stronger emphasis on delivering high impact benefits to the New Zealand economy through longer term, innovative science, Mr Joyce says.

More detailed information can be found at…

Ag-hort scientists missing from latest Rutherford Discovery Fellowships

A quick run through the successful applicants suggests NZIAHS members are absent from the list of recipients for this year’s Rutherford Discovery Fellowships.

The successful recipients of the Rutherford Foundation Trust Awards and James Cook Fellowships, just announced by the Royal Society, similarly make no mention of agricultural or horticultural science.

The Rutherford Discovery Fellowships receive Government funding of $8 million a year and award up to $800,000 over five years to each Research Fellow. There are at least 50 Rutherford Discovery Fellows supported at any one time.

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce, announced the latest winners, saying 10 of New Zealand’s most talented early to mid-career researchers had been awarded Rutherford Discovery Fellowships.

“The Fellowships seek to attract, retain and grow New Zealand’s up-and-coming talent by helping highly-promising researchers establish a track record for future research leadership.

“These researchers are of the highest quality and are working on projects that are of real benefit to New Zealand – from novel antibiotic treatment to seismic hazards to communication systems.”

The recipients for 2016 are:

The Dr Baptiste Auguie, Victoria University of Wellington, for research entitled: Light and chirality at the nanoscale.

Dr Federico Baltar, University of Otago, for research entitled: What makes ‘normal’ normal? Alternative microbial carbon and energy acquisition mechanisms in the neglected high-nutrient low-chlorophyll (HNLC) areas of the ocean.

Dr Adam Hartland, University of Waikato, for research entitled: Unlocking the karst record: quantitative proxies of past climates from speleothems.

Dr Huw Horgan, Victoria University of Wellington, for research entitled: Accelerating Ice – The Role of Water in the Flow of Ice Sheets.

Dr Yoshihiro Kaneko, GNS Science, for research entitled: Structural controls on earthquake behaviour in the Hikurangi subduction mega-thrust.

Dr Jenny Malmstrom, The University of Auckland, for research entitled: Signals to cells when and where they are needed.

Dr Duncan McMillan, University of Canterbury, for research entitled: Biomembrane nanotechnologies for exploring pathogen respiratory adaptation to identify and develop novel antibiotics.

Dr Jeremy Owen, Victoria University of Wellington, for research entitled: Harnessing the biosynthetic potential of uncultivated microbes for the discovery of new antibiotics.

Dr Nicole Roughan, The University of Auckland, for research entitled: Jurisprudence without Borders: A Pluralist Theory of Law.

Dr Virginia Toy, University of Otago, for research entitled: “Weaving the Earth’s Weak Seams: Manifestations and mechanical consequences of rock fabric evolution in active faults and shear zones.

 The Rutherford Discovery Fellowships aim to support the development of future research leaders, and assist with the retention and repatriation of New Zealand’s talented early- to mid- career researchers.  It operates under the Terms of Reference issued by the Minister of Science and Innovation.

Receipt of a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship is expected to have significant value in the future career of a researcher. The Fellowship will:

  • Provide support for ten early- to mid-career researchers each year (as defined by being between three and eight years post-PhD).
  • Support the recipients for a five-year term.
  • Provide competitive funding, up to $160,000 a year.
  • Develop excellent researchers in New Zealand.

Ten prestigious Fellowships of five years in length are awarded on a competitive basis annually, for research based in a New Zealand host institution. The Royal Society of New Zealand is responsible for administering the Fellowships.

The Royal Society of New Zealand-Rutherford Foundation Trust awards aim to build human capability in science and technology by providing early career support for New Zealand’s brightest and most promising researchers. Since its inception in 2008, the Trust has been supported by the Government’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment with $1 million a year.

The trustees, supported by Royal Society of New Zealand executives, have furthermore successfully leveraged co-funding from the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust, the Cavendish Laboratory, the Freemason Foundation and Antarctica New Zealand.

James Cook Research Fellowships are awarded to researchers on the basis of their academic and research records; the applicant’s ability to demonstrate that they have achieved national and international recognition in their area of research expertise; the applicants’ potential to make a contribution of significance in their research field; and, the level of excellence of the proposed research.

The Royal Society of New Zealand this year received proposals from 22 applicants spanning three broad research areas: physical sciences, health sciences, and engineering sciences and technologies. Three assessment panels scored the proposals and four Fellows were recommended for funding.