Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith has welcomed the start of new funding contracts for New Zealand’s Crown Research Institutes (CRIs), which will enable a more strategic approach to science as they celebrate their 25th anniversary during 2017.
“Crown Research Institutes deliver real value for New Zealand by providing excellent research to generate ideas and innovations for our industries, to promote evidence that contributes to high-quality decision making, and to find answers to many of our national challenges,” Mr Goldsmith says.
“Their work covers many aspects that affect New Zealanders including resilience of communities and sectors to natural hazards, environmental protection and climate change, as well as high value manufacturing and development of new opportunities.”
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,” Mr Goldsmith says.
“With more stable funding, CRIs can better plan for strategic scientific activity that is critical to the future of New Zealand’s economy, environment and wellbeing.”
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.