Posts Tagged ‘Paul Goldsmith’

Goldsmith announces $35m for advanced genomics research

The Government will invest up to $35 million over seven years in Genomics Aotearoa, a new collaborative science organisation supporting advanced genomics research, Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith announced today.

Genomics is a fast-moving, data intensive research field which underpins a wide range of science of increasing importance to New Zealand, Mr Goldsmith says.

Led by the University of Otago, Genomics Aotearoa is an alliance between the Universities of Auckland and Massey, Crown Research Institutes AgReserach, ESR, Landcare Research, and Plant and Food, and 32 associate organisations including researchers and end users of genomics and bioinformatics.

From health research to the primary sector and the environment, there are considerable social and economic gains on offer from the new collaborative platform, Mr Goldsmith says.

Genomics involves data-intensive computing to decode the DNA of plants, animals, and humans to understand how groups of genes interact with each other and the external environment. It is not genetic modification, which is the direct manipulation of an organism’s genome.

“This investment will establish Genomics Aotearoa as a collaborative platform of genomics research that grows New Zealand’s capability, builds international connections, and develops the tools and technologies that will support our genomics researchers in delivering excellent science,” Mr Goldsmith says.

“The new platform will accelerate genomics research in New Zealand, and thereby speed up our understanding of diseases like Kauri dieback, how to counter pest animal species, and develop new medical treatments for diseases such as cancer.”

Funding will come from the Government’s Strategic Science Investment Fund and follows a competitive two-stage application and assessment process managed by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Genomics Aotearoa presented a strong proposal that was comprehensive in scope and ambition, and seeks to cement national collaboration between genomic researchers and end-users across all life sciences of relevance to New Zealand’s economic, environmental and social wellbeing,” Mr Goldsmith says.

“This platform represents a new, strategic approach to Government investment in genomics research that allows us to build on our existing capability while remaining nimble enough to respond to future technological opportunities.”

MBIE will now work closely with Genomics Aotearoa as the platform undergoes a six month establishment phase which will involve developing a research agenda and work programme.

More information is available HERE.

 

Three-year Marsden Fund Investment Plan released

Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith says the new three-year Investment Plan for the Marsden Fund, launched by the Marsden Fund Council, will help guide the strategic direction of the fund and contribute to the National Statement of Science Investment.

The Marsden Fund Council, which oversees the fund, developed the plan following an assessment earlier this year undertaken by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

The fund was found to be highly regarded, well-run and effective at selecting high-quality research within its current settings, but recommended an investment plan to provide strategic direction, and ensure the fund continues to be effective and fit-for-purpose.

“The National Statement of Science Investment sets clear expectations for Government investment in research – we invest in excellence and we invest for impact. This plan signals a number of adjustments that will align the Fund with our broader vision for the research sector,” says Mr Goldsmith.

The Investment Plan outlines key changes which will be put in place for the 2018 funding round. These include:

  • Introducing a new award to support large interdisciplinary projects, worth up to $3 million;
  • Allowing researchers to apply for follow-on awards to sustain momentum for outstanding research;
  • Modifying assessment criteria to align more closely with the National Statement of Science Investment (NSSI), including the potential for significant scholarly impact;
  • Trialling a broader assessment panel structure;
  • Undertaking additional moderation between panels to ensure the quality and consistency of research selected from all disciplines; and
  • Providing more feedback to unsuccessful applicants and institutions following on preliminary proposals.

“The Marsden Fund has delivered high-quality research for the last 23 years and I’m confident that the strategic direction outlined in the Investment Plan will ensure it continues to do so for many years to come,” Mr Goldsmith says.

Further details on the implementation of the plan will be provided to the research community through a series of roadshows around the country, organised by the Royal Society Te Apārangi. The Marsden Fund Council is developing a Performance Framework for the Fund which will be published later this year.

More information and the Investment Plan can be found HERE. The Marsden Fund Assessment Report can be found HERE.

New research institutes announced for Bay of Plenty and Westland

Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith today announced a new Regional Research Institute based in Tauranga to leverage the Bay of Plenty’s strengths in horticulture, accelerating and commercialising research and innovation for the benefit of the region.

It is the second such announcement this week.

Plantech: the New Zealand Institute for Technology and Innovation in Premium Plant-based Value Chains, led by the economic development agency, Priority One, is the fourth successful proposal under the Government’s initiative to establish new regional Research Institutes.

The Government will provide funding of $8.42 million over five years for the new institute alongside additional funding from industry. It will operate as a private, independently governed organisation.

Plantech will initially focus on research to enable digital automation of devices for growers, including robotics and digital sensing, with the aim of becoming a leader in supporting customised, precise and automated production systems that are accessible for businesses at a range of scales.

“This research will increase effective development, adoption and adaptation of new technology which will improve the productivity and sustainability of the Horticulture sector. This has the potential to drive significant economic benefits for the region,” Mr Goldsmith says.

The announcement of the new institute through the Regional Research Institute initiative comes as the Bay of Plenty launches its refreshed Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Action Plan.

The Action Plan is a regionally led collaboration between local and central government, business and iwi that aims to increase jobs, income and investment in the Bay of Plenty. Regional economic development is a key part of the Government’s Business Growth Agenda and is supported through the Regional Growth Programme.

More information can be found on the MBIE website, HERE.
 

Yesterday Goldsmith announced a new Regional Research Institute based in Greymouth that will use innovative research and manufacturing techniques to unlock the potential of New Zealand’s minerals resources.

The New Zealand Institute for Minerals to Materials Research is led by an industry organisation, Minerals West Coast Trust.

The Government will provide funding of $11 million over four years for it. With additional funding from industry, it too will operate as a private, independently governed organisation.

The institute will explore three research areas initially, including purifying rare earth elements for use in magnets and lasers, extracting tungsten from gold mining waste and developing a carbon foam pilot plant.

The announcement of the new institute through the Regional Research Institute initiative comes as the West Coast launches its Tai Poutini West Coast Economic Development Action Plan. The West Coast was included in the Government’s Regional Growth Programme in November 2015. The programme aims to increase jobs, income and investment in regional New Zealand.

More information can be found on the MBIE website, HERE.

Minister announces 18 appointments to CRI and REANNZ boards

Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith has announced several appointments, and reappointments to the boards of six Crown Research Institutes (CRIs) and Research & Education Advanced Network New Zealand Ltd (REANNZ).

Among the appointments are Kate Wilkinson, a former National Party MP and Cabinet minister who retired from national politics in November 2014. In May the following year she was appointed Commissioner of the Environment Court.

Goldsmith announced 12 reappointments, including several promotions, to the boards of AgResearch, the Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences (GNS Science), Landcare Research, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd (NIWA), New Zealand Forest Research Institute Ltd (Scion), New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research and Research and REANNZ.

Six new appointments were Colin Armer, Jackie Lloyd, and Kim Wallace to the board of AgResearch and Ngarimu Blair, John Rodwell and Hon Kate Wilkinson to Landcare Research.

“Crown Research Institutes generate tangible benefits for New Zealand by facilitating excellent research that generates ideas and innovations for our industries, promotes evidence that contributes to high-quality decision making, and seeks answers to many of our national challenges,” Mr Goldsmith says.

“REANNZ contributes to the success of New Zealand’s research and education sector, providing the infrastructure that enables growth in data-intensive research.

“These reappointments are a testimony to the strong leadership, commitment, and contribution these members have made to New Zealand’s science system. I welcome the valuable knowledge and experience these appointees bring to these boards,” Mr Goldsmith says.

Southland farmer and former Member of Parliament, Jeff Grant, the new chair of the AgResearch Board, has been the CRI’s deputy chair since 2016.

More information about the appointments can be found HERE.

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.

$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.

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.