Science challenges underway soon

07 May 2013

Implementation of the National Science Challenges is expected to start soon with more consultation and workshops to get the process underway.

At a briefing for the scientific community at The University of Auckland’s Grafton Campus this week, the Chief Science Advisor to the Prime Minister, Sir Peter Gluckman said the National Science Challenges announced earlier this month, were an important step in reshaping New Zealand’s public science system from a contestable to a collaborative focus.

The Government has now committed a total of $133.5 million for the 10 Challenges - in health care, food nutrition, engineering innovation, protecting and managing biodiversity, land and water quality, marine resources, climate change and resilience to natural disasters.

This funding was for the first four years of the science challenges that have a more long-term focus.

“We expect most of the funding will be spent in years two to four with less needed for the establishment phase in the first year,” said Sir Peter. “Some of the Challenges will be able to get underway faster than others and this will be taken into account.”

Each of the Challenges were intended to target a high-level goal where research would have a major and enduring public benefit for New Zealand, said Sir Peter. Research themes within each challenge were focussing effort onto particular aspects and this detail was available in the report at this link .

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment was keen to get the next stage underway soon with meetings of officials and experts led by MBIE and panel members to frame the Challenges further and develop an overall implementation plan.

This would be followed by workshops with key participants to identify themes, research elements and research leaders and participants for each Challenge, he said.

They would then develop and formally review detailed research and business plans prepared by the Challenge leaders in conjunction with researchers and stakeholders.

While the workshops would be by invitation, the Ministry wanted to make the process as inclusive as possible within the limitations of a manageable number of participants, said Sir Peter.

“The intention is to have the science community engaged and coming together on this,” he said. “We are trying to promote collegiality and collaboration between scientists and institutions.”

For more information contact;

Suzi Phillips Media Relations Advisor Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences The University of Auckland s.phillips@auckland.ac.nz Mob 021 416 396 Phone +64 9 373 7599 ext 87383