Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith says a new three year Investment Plan for the Marsden Fund, launched today 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 is New Zealand’s leading research fund in support of excellent investigator-led research and it has been instrumental in building advanced research skills, as well as attracting and retaining top research talent,” Mr Goldsmith says.
“This new Investment Plan will ensure the Fund continues to support New Zealand’s best researchers in delivering research that can lead to transformative benefits for New Zealand.”
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.
It found that the Fund is 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.