Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith has today announced the winners of New Zealand’s most valuable and prestigious annual science awards, the Prime Minister’s Science Prizes.
“The Prime Minister’s Science Prizes celebrate scientific achievement, highlight the impact science has on New Zealanders’ lives, and aim to attract more young people into science careers,” Mr Goldsmith says.
“The awards were introduced to raise the profile and prestige of science careers and previous winners have become excellent ambassadors for science here in New Zealand and overseas.
“A prominent part of the Government’s science strategy is encouraging more engagement with science and technology among our young people and the wider community.
“The awards are a key part of the Curious Minds work programme - a national strategic plan for science in society launched in 2014 to help all New Zealanders engage with science and technology.
“The award recipients are role models, educators and communicators, who all play a part in inspiring others to become involved with science, I want to congratulate all of them on their awards, and for their commitment to promoting science,” Mr Goldsmith says.
The prizes were presented by Prime Minister Bill English at a ceremony at Parliament today:The Prime Minister’s Science Prize ($500,000) – The Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Research Unit, led by Professor Richie Poulton (University of Otago). The Prime Minister’s MacDiarmid Emerging Scientist Prize ($200,000) – Professor Brendon Bradley for his work in Civil and Natural Resources Engineering (University of Canterbury). The Prime Minister’s Science Teacher Prize ($150,000) – Diana Christenson (Koraunui Primary School, Lower Hutt). The Prime Minister’s Science Media Communication Prize ($100,000) – Rebecca Priestley (Victoria University of Wellington). The Prime Minister’s Future Scientist Prize ($50,000) – Catherine Pot (Onslow College, Wellington).
More information about this year’s winners is available at www.pmscienceprizes.org.nz.
Finance Minister Steven Joyce, and Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Paul Goldsmith have welcomed the release of the Productivity Commission’s report New models of tertiary education.
“We would like to acknowledge the Commission’s time and effort in considering this issue, and the wide engagement of the tertiary sector in the inquiry,” Mr Joyce says.
“We share the Commission’s commitment to further improving the way that tertiary education delivers relevant skills for New Zealanders, and will review the recommendations and opportunities identified in the report.”
“The Government will carefully consider the Commission’s recommendations over the coming months. We have work underway on some of the matters raised such as improving the accessibility of information for prospective students,” Mr Goldsmith says.
The Commission’s report is wide-ranging, and makes 49 recommendations. These focus on:Improving information and its use across the tertiary education system, Improving regulatory settings, particularly around quality assurance, Reforming how Government purchases tertiary education, Ensuring the “system architecture” supports clear roles, accountabilities, and expectations to drive better, and more innovative, tertiary education performance.
“The Government will keep an open mind on all of the recommendations, with the exception of the Commission’s view that interest should be reintroduced on new student loan borrowing.
“The Government is committed to retaining interest-free student loans for borrowers residing in New Zealand,” says Mr Goldsmith.
“We do not want to see young people starting their working lives with unmanageable debt. We know that for those who stay in New Zealand after graduating, half will have repaid their loan in under six and a half years.”
“Tertiary education provides students with the skills and qualifications to get good jobs and good incomes, contribute to the country’s economy, and be part of an innovative and successful New Zealand,” Mr Joyce says.
The Government will respond formally to the Productivity Commission’s recommendations in due course. The report will be tabled in Parliament at 9am today, and can be found on the Commission’s website www.productivity.govt.nz.
An underwater robot and a portable winemaking system are just some of the innovations being advanced at the New Zealand Product Accelerator programme, visited today by Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith.
“Science-led innovation plays an important role in lifting the living standards of New Zealanders, by lifting our productivity and strengthening our businesses,” says Mr Goldsmith.
“The NZ Product Accelerator programme is an innovative model for collaborative R&D that brings together researchers and industry to progress technologies, particularly in the manufacturing sector, to accelerate product development and create new market opportunities.”
The government-funded initiative, housed at the University of Auckland’s Newmarket campus, is currently in year four of a $12.7 million six year programme, and has collaborated with businesses on nearly 170 industrial projects covering a wider range of disciplines and applications.
“This programme has been designed to bridge the gap between research and commercialisation. What is truly impressive is the range of projects the programme supports,” Mr Goldsmith says.
“One of the projects under development is a new underwater robot which has been developed by start-up company Boxfish Research. The robot has wide ranging applications in aquaculture and environmental monitoring and is set to be trialled by industry in the near future.
The Product Accelerator team is also supporting Wine Grenade, which has designed a portable wine maturation device to make better red wine, faster.
The Product Accelerator partnered with Wine Grenade in the product development process and has helped them to complete a commercial trial in Hawke’s Bay.
“The Product Accelerator is having an impact all around New Zealand, to help fund innovative research into commercialising everything from tree planting robots, to improving New Zealand's Olympic track cycles, and temporary accommodation solutions following natural disasters.”
“Building a more productive and competitive economy is a priority for the Government, and initiatives such as the NZ Product Accelerator are essential for bringing that vision to life,” Mr Goldsmith says.
For more information visit www.nzproductaccelerator.co.nz.
Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith is welcoming the release of new research on canine nutrition which is set to boost New Zealand’s premium petfood exporters.
The New Zealand study explored how a high meat diet affects microbes in the guts of dogs. It found that a high meat diet is the optimum choice for the wellbeing of man’s best friend, as it is easier to digest and more nutrients are absorbed.
“This research is a significant contribution to the international canine nutrition field and it positions New Zealand scientists as leaders in this area. It’s also great news for our premium petfood export market, which is widely recognised as producing some of the best raw meat products in the world,” says Mr Goldsmith.
“Petfood is emerging as a real growth opportunity for the New Zealand economy. Globally, pet owners spent US$72 billion on petfood in 2012 and demand for quality ingredients and products have never been higher.”
The research is the first output of a 3-year collaborative research programme led by AgResearch and Massey University and co-funded by the New Zealand Premium Petfood Alliance (a consortium of Bombay Petfoods, ZiwiPeak and K9 Natural) and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
“While New Zealand’s disease-free status, fresh raw materials and free-range meats give us a strong competitive advantage in the global market, it is innovation that will drive further industry growth.”
“Building Innovation is a key part of the Government’s comprehensive Business Growth Agenda and our scientists are certainly on the right track with this collaborative research approach between scientists, industry and government to achieve tangible value for New Zealand’s petfood export market,” Mr Goldsmith says.
The research paper ‘Key bacterial families (Clostridiaceae, Erysipelotrichaceae and Bacteroidaceae) are related to the digestion of protein and energy in the dog’, has been published HERE.
Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Hon Paul Goldsmith has today announced seven reappointments to the governing councils of six institutes of technology and polytechnics (ITPs).
“I welcome the reappointment of these council members. They are high-calibre appointees, and include three council Chairs and one Deputy Chair” says Mr Goldsmith.
“I thank them for their commitment and continued contribution to the leadership of their institutions.”
The reappointed council members are:Manukau Institute of Technology: the reappointment of Mr Peter WINDER as a council member and as Chair. Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology: the reappointment of council-appointed member Mr Daryl WEHNER as Chair. The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand: the reappointment of Mr Murray BAIN as a council member and as Chair. Southern Institute of Technology: the reappointment of Mr Jeff GRANT as a council member. Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology: the reappointment of Ms Rahera OHIA and Ms Ngaroma TAHANA as council members. Universal College of Learning: the reappointment of Mr Ben VANDERKOLK as Deputy Chair and as a council member.
Peter WINDER is Director of McGredy Winder & Co and has current governance roles as Crown Manager at Kaipara District Council, a Director of Sound of Music Education Limited and a Director of Auckland’s Silo Theatre. He was one of the Commissioners of governing Kaipara District Council, Chief Executive of Auckland Regional Council and of Local Government New Zealand, and Director of Transport at Auckland Regional Council.
Daryl WEHNER is a chartered accountant and the Chief Financial Officer at Port Nelson and has been a member of the NMIT council since 2009. His career has included senior positions with Fletcher Development and Construction, Enerco Gas Central, and the Cawthron Institute.
Murray BAIN is an experienced company director whose governance roles include the TSB Bank Group and Chair of Top Energy Ltd. His executive career included Chief Executive of the Foundation for Research Science and Technology and of the Ministry of Science and Innovation, an Assistant Governor in the Reserve Bank of New Zealand and Head of Banking for the Trust Bank Group.
Jeff GRANT is a former MP who farms deer, beef and sheep at Balfour. His extensive governance experience includes roles with OSPRI New Zealand, AgResearch, Predator Free 2050, SBS Bank, Milford Sound Tourism, Mt Linton Station Ltd. He was previously Chair of the NZ Meat Board, Meat and Wool New Zealand and the Primary Industry Council.
Rahera OHIA QSM (Ngāti Pūkenga, Ngāi Te Rangi, Waitaha, Ngāti Raukawa and Ngāti Māhanga) is the CEO and lead negotiator for Ngāti Pūkenga’s Treaty settlements and Chair of the tribe’s post settlement entity, Te Tawharau o Ngāti Pūkenga. This followed a government career that focused on policy development and strategic advice. Ms Ohia was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal in 2014.
Ngaroma TAHANA is a Solicitor with Gordon & Pilditch in Rotorua. She regularly conducts District Court jury trials, regulatory prosecutions for government departments, and appears on a wide range of cases in both the High Court and the District Court.
Bernard (Ben) VANDERKOLK is the Crown Solicitor in Palmerston North and principal of the law practice BVA. His governance experience includes Massey University, where he is also a Ministerial appointee, and the New Zealand Law Society. He is a Fellow of the Arbitrator’s and Mediator’s Institute of New Zealand.
Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Paul Goldsmith has welcomed today’s publication of new research on the economic benefits of international education for regions across New Zealand.
The eight regional economic impact reports detail living costs, tuition fees, average spend per student, the number of jobs supported and economic value for Northland, Bay of Plenty (including Tauranga, the Western Bay of Plenty, and Rotorua), Taranaki, Manawatu-Whanganui, Hawke’s Bay, Nelson-Marlborough-Tasman, Otago (including Dunedin and Queenstown) and Southland.
“These findings help give us a more complete picture and gain a deeper understanding of the economic outcomes our regions are seeing due to the growth of international education, as well as where the opportunities lie,” Mr Goldsmith says.
“While the financial return of the international education sector is important, we are also seeing positive experiences and value for Kiwi learners, business and communities, thanks to the sector’s ability to link individuals, businesses, institutions and communities with international markets.”
International education is making an important contribution to economic development and GDP growth in our regions. The highest contribution in the new series of reports is attributed to Dunedin, at $117m for 2015/16.
The research follows the release of a report in November 2016, The Economic Impact of International Education 2015/16, which looked at the New Zealand-wide picture and the larger centres of Auckland, Canterbury, Wellington, Waikato and Otago. The total economic value of New Zealand’s international education industry was put at $4.28 billion, making it our fourth largest export industry.
The international education sector is also creating and supporting jobs across the regions, with the sector directly linked to the creation of 504 jobs in the Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty area alone.
“International education is a significant export industry for New Zealand, and it is important that we know whether the benefits delivered are worth the investment made by government and our regions,” Mr Goldsmith says.
“These eight regional reports will enable providers and regional agencies to make informed decisions around potential investments in international education, removing some risk from the process.”
The regional reports were produced by Infometrics and the National Research Bureau (NRB) for Education New Zealand in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Statistics New Zealand, and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
Education New Zealand (ENZ) commissioned the research as part of its Regional Partnership Programme, designed to support the development of international education across New Zealand and ensure that smaller communities are also able to see the benefits of the sector.
The eight regional Infometrics and NRB reports can be found HERE.
The Better Public Service (BPS) goals of growing the number of children in Early Childhood Education, increasing the proportion of 18 year olds with NCEA Level 2 or equivalent, and increasing graduates of Level 4 or tertiary equivalents have all shown fantastic progress, say Education Minister Hekia Parata and Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Paul Goldsmith.
“We have a provisional result of 85.2 per cent of 18 year olds achieving NCEA level 2 or equivalent in 2016 - an overall lift in achievement of 10.9 per cent since 2011, and 1.9 per cent more than 2015,” says Ms Parata.
I want to congratulate students, teachers and parents – their hard work is reflected in this wonderful result. That means more young people achieving what is seen as the minimum qualification for success.”
There has been a sharp improvement in Māori and Pasifika achievement in particular since 2011. An estimated 74.7 per cent of Māori achieved NCEA Level 2 or equivalent in 2016 – up from 57.1 per cent in 2011. More than 80 per cent of Pasifika 18 year olds achieved NCEA Level 2 in 2016 – up from 65.5 per cent in 2011.
A record improvement has also been seen in the BPS result for the number of children participating in early childhood education (ECE) before starting school. The participation rate was 96.7 per cent last year – an increase of 2 per cent since March 2011.
“It’s particularly pleasing to see so many more children participating in early learning as research shows that one of the best ways for a child to have a great start in education is for them to be in quality early childhood education,” says Ms Parata.
“Having achieved the original target of 55 per cent of 25-34 year olds with qualifications at Level 4 and above (advanced trade qualifications, diplomas, and degrees), the Government is now working hard towards the revised target of 60 per cent by 2018,” says Mr Goldsmith.
“From around 52 per cent in 2012, we have lifted the rate to 57.2 per cent as of December 2016, which is a fantastic achievement and means many more young New Zealanders are facing the future better equipped than ever before.
“These results have been achieved thanks to the Government’s focus on improving education quality, and increased participation and success.
“We have worked with industry, and Industry Training Organisations to improve the industry training system, improve access to training, and increase achievement rates. There are now over 100,000 industry trainees, and provisional figures indicate we now have 42,900 apprentices across New Zealand.
“New Zealand is now seeing more of our young adults attaining higher qualifications. We need people with world class skills and knowledge to boost the productivity of the New Zealand economy, a challenge this Government is meeting,” Mr Goldsmith says.
The University of Auckland and Victoria University of Wellington have been successful in their bids to host new Centres of Asia-Pacific Excellence (CAPEs), Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Paul Goldsmith has announced today at an event at Victoria University.
The CAPEs will be cross-institutional centres of excellence specialising in the language, culture, politics and economics of countries or groups of countries within the Asia-Pacific region.
“They are an important and strategic investment in New Zealand’s future. So much of our trade, tourism and migration is focused on the Asia-Pacific region. It makes sense to deepen our understanding of it,” Mr Goldsmith says.
As well as teaching about and researching these countries, each CAPE will be mandated to help learners, exporters, and government agencies improve their understanding of the countries and their languages.
“The new CAPEs will provide initiatives and programmes of use to small and medium enterprises wanting to grow their understanding of the Asian and Latin American markets.”
“The centres will also help individuals better prepare to do business and connect with the Asia-Pacific region.”
CAPEs will further develop New Zealand’s Asia-Pacific rim knowledge and language skills, facilitating collaboration between tertiary education providers and stakeholders to enhance our partnerships with the Asia-Pacific region.
The CAPEs programme was allocated $34.5 million over 4 years in Budget 2016. It is part of the Government’s comprehensive Business Growth Agenda, and a major initiative in the internationalisation stream of the Tertiary Education Strategy.
Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith today announced three new appointments, as well as two reappointments, to the Science Board.
New members Dr David Wratt, Dr Jill Vintiner and Professor Aidan Byrne have been appointed to the Board for terms of three years. Dr Charlotte Severne and Professor Adam Jaffe were also reappointed for further terms of 3 years and 18 months respectively.
The Science Board is responsible for the allocation of funding used predominantly by research organisations for science, technology, research, and related activities.
“Science and innovation are key elements in our effort to boost New Zealand’s productivity, prosperity and wellbeing,” says Mr Goldsmith.
“To achieve this, we must invest in excellence and we must invest for impact. The Science Board plays a major role in ensuring we invest in quality research that makes a measureable contribution to New Zealand.
“These new appointments offer expertise in a range of science disciplines and the unique skills and experience each member brings will equip the Board with valuable insight.
“I would like to express my thanks to outgoing Board member Professor Janis Swan, who finished her term on 31 December 2016, for her contribution to the Board,” Mr Goldsmith says.
More information on the Science Board can be found on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s website.
Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith today announced $2 million funding for a wood-processing facility which uses automation and robotics to turn low-value pine trees into high-value wood products.
This is just one of the local initiatives announced at the release of the Tairāwhiti Economic Action Plan in Gisborne.
“Forestry is a major employer in the region and this funding accelerates research and development in this sector. This technology from Wood Engineering Technology Ltd ensures that even low value ‘pulp’ logs, or forestry blocks on remote sites, can become economically viable,” says Mr Bridges.
WET Gisborne Ltd, a joint venture between Wood Engineering Technology Ltd and the Eastland Community Trust, is building a $9 million prototype plant, where this technology is being developed.
It is expected that there will be three plants on the initial site creating 120 highly skilled jobs, and see potential opportunity in opening further plants in the more remote locations of Eastland.
“The processing plant is being partly funded through a Callaghan Innovation growth grant and demonstrates how innovative technology can improve productivity and profitability,” says Mr Goldsmith.
“Delivering commercialised technology to market is a core part of Callaghan Innovation’s mandate, so it is pleasing to see the Gisborne region benefitting directly from the government’s investment in research and development through growth grants.”