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 that underpins a wide range of science that is increasingly important 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.
“This new collaborative platform presents a major opportunity for New Zealand to be at the forefront of genomics. From health research to the primary sector and our environment, there are considerable social and economic gains on offer,” 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 (MBIE).
“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.
For more information, see HERE.
What is genomics?
An organism's complete set of DNA is called its genome. The study of the genome and its environment is known as genomics.
While genetics is the study of specific parts of DNA, genomics allows us to see a panoramic view of the DNA landscape of a genome, inside a single cell. Not only how that genome works, but how it interacts with its environment, from the cell surrounding it, to factors outside the organism it is part of.
By taking a wider look at the whole genome, we can begin to make discoveries about genetic variations, including susceptibility to diseases and differences in appearance. This can apply not only to humans, but also to animals and plants.
What is the difference between genomics and genetic modification or engineering?
Genomics is the understanding of an organisms’ complete set of DNA, and does not involve editing and manipulating the genome. Genomics does not involve genetic modification or engineering.
Genetic modification, or engineering, is the direct manipulation of an organism's genome using biotechnology. It is a set of technologies used to change the genetic makeup of cells, including the transfer of genes within and across species boundaries.
The Tai Tokerau Northland International Education Strategy, launched today in Waitangi, will help Northland take advantage of the opportunities provided by export education, Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Paul Goldsmith says.
“There is real potential for international education to bring a range of benefits to Northland,” Mr Goldsmith says.
“Many international students value the opportunity to experience tikanga Māori and te reo in an authentic setting. Northland delivers a uniquely New Zealand experience.”
The new strategy includes specific and sustainable growth targets over the next 10 years, including growing international secondary student numbers to 400, growing primary and intermediate school enrolments to 200, and increasing the value of international education in Northland to $30 million per year.
“International education supports our young people to develop their skills as ‘global citizens’, and connects New Zealand communities and businesses to the wider world,” Mr Goldsmith says.
“International education has grown rapidly in New Zealand and is now our fourth largest export, valued at $4.5 billion, and supporting over 33,000 jobs.
“It is important that we deliver on our promise to international students of an education to be proud of. This new strategy helps achieve that.”
The Tai Tokerau Northland International Education Strategy is available on the Northland Inc website, HERE.
The Draft New Zealand International Education Strategy is available on the Education New Zealand website HERE. Consultation closes on 31 August 2017 and a final strategy is expected to be published later in the year.
A new investment of $21 million over seven years for the Research Education and Advanced Network New Zealand (REANNZ), will ensure the country’s top researchers have the ability to collaborate over long distances, Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith says.
“Science and research are data-intensive pursuits that in the 21st Century are becoming increasingly collaborative and borderless,” Mr Goldsmith says.
“So for New Zealand to continue to position itself as a leader in research and innovation, it’s crucial that researchers have access to the specialist services they need to participate in data-intensive research and high-performance science on a global scale.
“This new investment will support the specialist services and activities undertaken by REANNZ that allow our scientists and researchers to stay on the cutting edge.”
The new funding is part of an updated Investment Plan for the Government’s Strategic Science Investment Fund (SSIF), which supports longer-term programmes of mission-led science and science infrastructure of enduring importance to New Zealand.
The new Plan also provides details on the $40.5 million in new funding announced in Budget 2017, comprised of:$19.5 million over four years to support natural hazards research and improve our ability to monitor hazards on a 24/7 basis, and; $21 million over three years to support an Antarctic Research Platform that will explore the unique environment of Antarctica.
“The investments made through this Fund form a significant portion of Government’s total investment in science. By 2021, Government funding for science and innovation will reach $1.66 billion, up from $1.32 billion in 2015.
“This continuing lift in government investment recognises the importance of a dynamic science and innovation system that lifts our productivity and living standards, and preserves and enhances what is special about New Zealand,” Mr Goldsmith says.
Further details including the updated Plan can be found on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website.
Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Paul Goldsmith has today released the Future Demand for Construction Workers Report 2017, the updated forecast of New Zealand’s need for workers in building and construction through to 2022.
“Demand for skills across the board is at fever pitch, but nowhere more so than in construction, which in the year to June employed over 18,200 more people across New Zealand, the second largest contributor to annual employment growth,” Mr Goldsmith says.
The number of people expected to be employed in construction occupations is projected to increase by 10 per cent by 2022, adding around 56,000 employees, increasing the total construction workforce to 571,300.
“The total value of building and construction work forecast over the next six years is expected to top $244 billion, and all of that investment needs skilled construction workers to bring it to reality,” Mr Goldsmith says.
“Our intention is not just to provide accurate forecasts of the value of this work. We want to support planning for this important part of our national workforce.”
The new report and its web application allows anyone to check forecasts for 62 construction occupations across New Zealand. That information will enable construction firms to better plan their workforces, and encourage expanded training by education providers.
“The Government is actively supporting the training of more skilled workers to meet the demand for new housing and construction. Through initiatives such as Trades Academies, Vocational Pathways, the Dual Pathways Pilot, Maori and Pasifika Trades Training, and industry training through the ITOs, we have a significant pipeline for delivering skilled workers,” Mr Goldsmith says.
“We have the funding to take on anyone willing to take up an apprenticeship, and have funded 7,500 new apprentices over the past year. The Government is willing to put the resources in, but we also need the support of parents, teachers, careers advisors, and businesses if we are to get more young Kiwis into the trades.”
“In 2016 the number of new starts for apprenticeships like carpentry, plumbing and electrical engineering were at the highest levels in nearly a decade. We now have over 43,000 apprentices in training, and are on the way to our goal of 50,000 by 2020,” Mr Goldsmith says.
The Future Demand for Construction Workers Report 2017 and web application are located at constructionprojections.mbie.govt.nz.
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.
New Zealand's first micro-credential - a self-driving car engineering programme delivered online by Udacity, is now available, Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Paul Goldsmith says.
"It is fitting that the first micro-credential to be launched in New Zealand should be in the future focused area of autonomous cars; our tertiary system should be as innovative as the wider economy," Mr Goldsmith says.
Micro-credentials, also known as badges and Nanodegrees, allow for specific skills or components of learning to be recognised. Micro-credentials are not units of learning toward a full qualification, but are a recognition of specific skills, experience and knowledge.
Udacity's Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree is a micro-credential that has been assessed by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) as equivalent to a 60 credit package of learning at Level 9 (Masters level) on the New Zealand Qualification's Framework (NZQF).
The Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree programme covers deep learning, computer vision, sensor fusion, controllers, and related automotive hardware skills and takes nine months of part time study.
“NZQA’s launch of the three micro credential pilots follows the launch of the Government’s work programme in response to the Productivity Commission report on tertiary education,” Mr Goldsmith says.
“These new pilots reflect this Government's commitment to driving forward the kind of innovation in the tertiary education system recommended by the Productivity Commission’s report.”
Examples of micro-credentials include short courses delivered online, in the workplace or at training institutions. Micro- credentials can be at any level of a qualifications framework and would typically be between 5 and 60 credits.
Alongside the Udacity Nanodegree programme pilot, NZQA is also working with Otago Polytechnic and the Young Enterprise Scheme:
Otago Polytechnic, which has significant experience in the assessment and recognition of prior learning, launched their micro-credential service, EduBits on 27 July. EduBits recognises sets of skills and knowledge to enable just-in-time workforce upskilling and reskilling and are being developed in conjunction with industry. Otago Polytechnic and NZQA will jointly award micro-credential EduBits as equivalent to 5 to 60 credits across the levels of the NZQF.
The final pilot enables high school students to be issued with a joint Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) and NZQA micro-credential.
YES is run by the Young Enterprise Trust in association with the Lion Foundation. It provides students with an opportunity to set up and run a real business, creating a product or service and bringing it to market. Approximately 3,700 students participate in the scheme annually. The YES certificate currently contributes 24 credits at Level 2 and 3 on the NZQF that can be used toward NCEA.
“New Zealand’s qualification system will need to adapt if we are to meet our evolving skills needs, and micro-credentials are one way we can begin to do that.
"Learners and employers will always value formal qualifications, but as workers need specific new skills across their lifetime, a micro-credential may be an excellent option for learners to upskill without completing a full formal qualification,” Mr Goldsmith says.
The three pilots will be evaluated by NZQA within six months with a view of considering how best to support the further development of a micro credentials system in New Zealand.
More information on the three pilots can be found HERE.
The latest Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) shows the unemployment rate is now at the lowest level since the start of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) says Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Paul Goldsmith.
“The unemployment rate has fallen to 4.8 per cent in the June 2017 quarter, the lowest rate since December 2008. Our strong economy continues to deliver for New Zealanders,” Mr Goldsmith says.
“The number of people unemployed has dropped by 3,000 this quarter, reflecting a robust labour market and increasing employment opportunities.
“Strong job growth continues, with 76,000 new jobs over the past year and 181,000 new jobs over the past two years.”
Labour force participation remains high at 70 per cent.
“Particularly pleasing is the reduction in the number of young people not in employment, education or training (NEETs). The rate fell to 11.1 per cent, down from 12.7 per cent in the previous quarter. The number of women who are NEET is at the lowest level on record,” Mr Goldsmith says.
Other highlights this quarter include:
- Average ordinary time hourly earnings for women increased 2.4 per cent;
- New Zealand ranked fourth in the OECD for employment rate (15-64).
“Today’s release shows the Government’s comprehensive economic plan is delivering for families, with lower unemployment, continued strong job creation and more opportunities for young people to get ahead,” Mr Goldsmith says.
Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Paul Goldsmith has today announced the latest round of recipients of the Prime Minister’s Scholarships for Latin America (PMSLA).
“These scholarships were established in 2016 in order to build New Zealand’s connections with Latin America. This year Argentina and Peru are among the six study destinations chosen, together with Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico,” Mr Goldsmith says.
Eleven individual students from across New Zealand and one group of 10 students have been selected in this second round of 2016/17 scholarships, with a total value of $233,332.
“This international education experience will enable the students to develop cultural skills and understanding alongside their specialist subject knowledge. Young Kiwis who are confident operating in many countries and cultures will boost New Zealand’s future as a trading nation,” Mr Goldsmith says.
The 11 individual study programmes include university exchanges and business internships, as well as a Master of International Business degree.
In addition, a group of 10 senior law students from University of Waikato will attend the Latin America Law Summer School in Chile early in 2018.
“I want to congratulate all of the scholarship recipients, and wish them all the best for their time representing New Zealand to the world,” Mr Goldsmith says.
The PMSLA programme is funded as part of the $761.4 million ‘Innovative New Zealand’ 2016 Budget package.
Applications are now open for round one of the 2017/18 PMSLA and will close on 30 October 2017.
Further information, including the names of the latest scholarship recipients, is available on the Education New Zealand website here.
Good afternoon everyone and welcome. It is great to be here with all of you who have a major stake in tertiary education and the future workforce of New Zealand. I am here today to announce the Government response to the Productivity Commission report on new models of tertiary education.
I want to start by acknowledging Kirk Hope, Chief Executive of Business NZ for hosting us today.
I would also like to acknowledge Murray Sherwin, the Board, Judy Kavanagh and the team at the Productivity Commission for producing a very insightful – and very thorough – report.
I would also like to thank the stakeholder groups, peak bodies and employer groups who put in an enormous amount of effort to organise feedback from their members and provide submissions on the report.
You will be able to find the response published in full online, but I want to take you through a number of parts which are relevant to those here this afternoon.
The Productivity Commission’s task was to look at how our tertiary education system responds to emerging trends in technology, the internationalisation of education, flexibility in the system and importantly the skills needed in our economy: no small feat.
Over recent decades New Zealanders have invested ever-greater funds to ensure that more and more Kiwis can extend their learning further, to gain skills for their careers and to gather knowledge about themselves, our society and the world in which we live.
The tertiary sector is now a big part of the economy, not just preparing workers and citizens, but also providing research and intellectual leadership in so many fields. Academics, researchers and the administrative staff that support them help our companies innovate, they help solve national and international challenges and they deepen our understanding of the human condition. The sector is also a major export earner, sustaining the livelihoods of thousands of New Zealand families.
My priority as Minister is to ensure that the sector remains responsive to the needs of all its stakeholders, is innovative and effective, and that it builds on its high international reputation.
Skills for a growing economy
The consistent message we’ve all been receiving around the country is that at a time of rapid job creation, demand for skills is at fever pitch. And there’s a sense that demand will continue to grow in the years ahead.
The demand extends from highly-skilled areas, such as writers of code for the digital economy, to the skilled tradespeople needed to build our houses and infrastructure, the technologists who will drive our growing food industry, through to the many skills required in the booming hospitality industries.
This demand is driven by a strong economy, by shifting technology, and by population growth.
The education system, naturally, is critical to delivering the skills required. It’s not just a one-off task, immediately following school. In many cases it will be ongoing, throughout multiple, shifting careers.
Our tertiary system is high performing and in many aspects, equal to this task. But there is always room for improvement. As part of our response to the inquiry we have developed four key areas of focus.
Students at the heart – creating a more student-centred system
Students are at the heart of any strong and effective tertiary education system. It is their commitment, their choices, and their outcomes that will drive any benefits we, as a country, gain from our investment in tertiary education.
We will work to make it easier for students to move between work, study, and different types of learning. We will continue to improve the information available to students, right from careers advice at school, through to study options and employment outcomes of graduates. We will also look into options to provide students with more flexible and relevant qualifications.
You’ll begin to see some movement on this area very soon, as NZQA are progressing three pilots in the area of micro credentials. These pilots are a stepping stone to NZQA developing a full micro credential system so that employers and learners can access the skills they need as the nature of work continues to change.
Ultimately our system will recognise informal and formal learning and reduce duplication through greater use of recognition of prior learning, cross credit and micro credentials.
Meeting the needs of industry
We want to ensure that providers are offering a relevant and responsive education for their students. And one that meets the needs of industry through relevant, responsive, and supportive teaching.
One element of this is ensuring that we have the balance right between teaching and research, so we will be reviewing research-led teaching rules. It will also mean supporting the sector to improve teaching quality, and increasing the opportunities for providers to collaborate with industry to offer programmes that integrate with the working world.
Inertia in the system
Through its inquiry, the Commission – and many submitters – identified inertia as a key problem with the operation of the tertiary education system. Many providers are unwilling to trial new approaches to delivering education because of perceived funding or other implications.
The third area of focus will be on improving performance across the system. We want to support a more responsive system that better rewards high performance, provides the right incentives for TEOs, and reduces the barriers to delivering an improved system for everyone who is involved. Part of this will mean looking at how we fund providers, including performance funding, how EFTS are calculated, and how fee regulation can restrict innovation and providers’ ability to differentiate their courses. This is complex work that will take time to complete.
Innovating in the tertiary sector
One of the Government’s core aims for the inquiry was to see how enabling and encouraging innovative new models and providers could be achieved. The first three areas all contribute to encouraging innovation, but there are some specific opportunities available to directly support innovation.
Over the next year we will make it easier for providers to enter the TEC-funded system, and for the TEC to prioritise applications offering course provision that isn’t already available with TEC funding. And in line with the Commission’s recommendation, provide a “safe harbour” for providers to run experimental SAC-funded courses with an exemption from EPIs.
To summarise, some of what we’re proposing in response to the Productivity Commission is a continuation of work already underway, some however, is more substantial reform. We know it is a complex system, so we would go about change in a careful and consultative manner.
In wrapping up, I just want to say something about the prize we seek. It’s not just about better delivering the skills we need for a growing economy, it’s also about creating opportunities. An important part of the work lies at the foundation level – where tertiary providers are working with at-risk young people who have struggled during their schooling. They are looking to find that spark of inspiration that each young person needs to get back into education and into a job.
With the current strong demand for labour and skills, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of those young men and women, and some older people as well. We have a chance to get people into work, in families where that hasn’t occurred consistently for generations, and thereby to make real progress on a long-standing social problem. That’s why it’s so important that the tertiary system is responsive and innovative.
The other thing I wanted to mention was the challenge of matching the skills we produce with the skills we need as a country. A stark example is the continuous struggle we have to get talented young people into the trades.
We can put better information in the hands of students about the options out there for work, the careers they can have, and the employment outcomes from specific courses. But in the trades space particularly we’re still fighting against entrenched attitudes, amongst parents, educators and the community at large that steer bright and enterprising young people away from a career in the trades and technical areas.
This has to change. There are huge opportunities for great careers in the trades in this country. The Government is willing to put the money in, but we need buy-in from parents, careers advisors, educators, and the wider community. We need them to support our young people into trade professions, because they’re not just the courses for the students struggling at school, they’re essential for building the houses we need, the roads we need, and all of the other infrastructure that we are investing so heavily in.
Because it is so topical at the moment, I have focused on the skills side of the equation, but I do want to make the obvious point in closing that the tertiary sector contributes more than skills alone. It’s about the development of knowledge at the individual level and at the broader national and international level. It’s about deepening our understanding of ourselves, our history, the world in which we live, and finding solutions to our many challenges.
We have inherited as a country, a world class university system that is consistently high-quality. The Commission didn’t directly focus on this area, but it is certainly one of my overarching concerns, to ensure that we preserve and enhance that global reputation.
That’s why we continue to invest in high-quality research, which underpins the strength of our universities. We are committed to that.
So thank you to the Productivity Commission for your report. The documentation released today gives a high-level response to the recommendations, and as we work our way through many of the proposals over the next few years we will ensure our tertiary system remains responsive, innovative, and effective.
Thank you all.
Finance Minister Steven Joyce and Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister, Paul Goldsmith have today released the Government’s response to the most extensive review of tertiary education in more than a decade, and outlined its plan for delivering a responsive, innovative, and effective tertiary education system.
“The Productivity Commission released New Models of Tertiary Education in March, providing the Government with an opportunity to set out a clear vision and the future direction for tertiary education at a time of rapid job creation, where the demand for skills has seldom been higher,” Mr Joyce says.
The Government’s response signals areas for immediate action, as well as the proposed direction for future work.
“While New Zealand has a high performing tertiary education system, the Commission has identified some areas that can prevent the system innovating and responding to the evolving needs of New Zealand and New Zealanders,” Mr Goldsmith says.
“Over the next year, we will work with the sector as we begin to identify how to deliver some of the recommendations. We will also begin consulting with stakeholders later this year as we work to develop a new Tertiary Education Strategy in 2018.”
The work programme will focus on four key areas.Creating a more student-centred system: Providing students with the right information to make good decisions about their education, and move easily through education and between education and employment. Meeting the needs of industry through relevant, responsive, and supportive teaching: Supporting education organisations to offer relevant, high-quality education so graduates have the skills they need to find and maintain sustainable employment. Improving performance across the system: Ensuring that government policy supports providers and government agencies to adapt and respond quickly and effectively to the needs and demands of students, employers, industry and wider society. Enabling and encouraging innovative new models and providers: We want to ensure that the system is open to new and innovative ideas, and able to experiment, so that it delivers the best possible outcomes for New Zealand.
“The Government also made it clear early on that it would not be accepting the Commission’s recommendation to reinstate interest on student loans. That position has not changed now that we have identified our approach to all 49 of the recommendations,” Mr Goldsmith says.
“This is an opportunity for everyone involved with tertiary education to help shape and safeguard its future. I look forward to engaging with business, stakeholders, students, and the public to achieve a positive outcome for New Zealand.”
The Government’s formal response to the Productivity Commission’s report New Models of Tertiary Education can be found HERE.