Posts Tagged ‘Paul Goldsmith’

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.

Primary sector science roadmap to boost exports is launched

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith tonight launched the Primary Sector Science Roadmap at the National Fieldays.

Mr Guy says science will be a key driver in lifting overall primary sector exports to the target of $64 billion by 2025.

“From climate change, to changing consumer preferences, to a greater emphasis on issues like traceability and provenance, science and technology have an important role to play in ensuring our primary industries remain globally competitive,” says Mr Guy.

“This Roadmap will inform research conducted by New Zealand science and technology teams and organisations, along with their international partners.

“It provides a shared view across the primary sector on the science and technology needs for the sector – and where science investment needs to be focused. This document will guide the primary sector’s science direction for the next 10 to 20 years.

“I’d like to thank the many industry leaders, research organisations and individual scientists for all their valuable input into this document,” says Mr Guy.

Goldsmith said the creation of the Primary Sector Science Roadmap supports the Government’s overall strategy for the science system.

“The National Statement of Science Investment 2015-2025 sets out a vision for a highly dynamic science system that enriches New Zealand through excellent research that creates impact. The Government invested an estimated $428 million in primary sector research in 2016, while the industry carried out R&D worth $266 million.

“The Roadmap recognises the important role that the primary sector plays in our economy, and ensures the government, industry, and researchers are working collaboratively to achieve the best results for New Zealand through high quality science,” says Mr Goldsmith.

The Roadmap is aligned with the Conservation and Environment Science Roadmap and will be a guiding document for the strategic directions of the National Science Challenges.

You can link to the Roadmap 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.

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.

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.

Minister welcomes significant lift in business R&D

The 2016 Research and Development Survey, which measures the level of business, government and higher education R&D activity in New Zealand, shows business research and development expenditure increased 29 per cent from 2014 to $1.6 billion in 2016, up $356 million.

Total expenditure on R&D increased 20 per cent in the same period, totalling $3.2 billion in 2016.

The data were welcomed by Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith as a sign of the confidence businesses have in themselves and the New Zealand economy.

He said this was an important survey because it was the first to fully capture the impact of the work the Government is doing through Callaghan Innovation and the R&D grants programme to support lifting business spending on R&D.

Callaghan Innovation’s grants and research expertise have been designed to stimulate businesses to fund their own R&D activities. The figures from Statistics New Zealand “are tangible evidence that the initiative is working”, Goldsmith said.

The 2016 Research and Development Survey also reports that:

  • The services and manufacturing sectors led the growth in business R&D up 32 and 29 per cent respectively. From the service sector, the computer services industry grew 40 per cent from 2014.
  • R&D spend is growing faster than the rest of the economy.
  • The number of researchers involved in R&D in New Zealand has increased by 2,900 to 54,500 people.
  • 85 per cent of businesses undertaking R&D activity expected the future R&D spending to stay the same or increase.

The survey also highlighted a significant increase in international investment in New Zealand R&D – up 37 per cent to $265 million in 2016.

New appointments to the Science Board

Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith has announced three new appointments and two reappointments to the Science Board.

The new members, Dr David Wratt, Dr Jill Vintiner and Professor Aidan Byrne, have been appointed to the board for terms of three years. Dr Charlotte Severne and Professor Adam Jaffe were reappointed for further terms of three years and 18 months respectively.

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

Goldsmith said the new appointments offered expertise in a range of science disciplines and the unique skills and experience each member brought would equip the board with valuable insight.

He expressed his thanks to outgoing board member Professor Janis Swan, who finished her term on 31 December 2016, for her contribution to the board.

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