Science researchers on both sides of the Tasman are benefitting from the Australian Synchrotron facility, visited today by Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith.
“As foundation investors in the Australian Synchrotron, we have given New Zealand researchers access to a sophisticated facility which can assist in the development of everything from forensics, to surgical tools, through to understanding environmental issues,” says Mr Goldsmith.
“New Zealand’s science and innovation system has benefited noticeably from our participation in the Synchrotron. It has helped improve the quality and impact of New Zealand research and there have been a number of international collaborations which have developed through research conducted at the facility.”
The Australian Synchrotron’s sophisticated scientific techniques provide benefits for diverse scientific and industrial fields and purposes, including:Biomedicine Defence Environmental technologies and services Food technology Forensics Manufacturing Minerals Natural resources Pharmaceuticals Scientific instruments
A number of New Zealand industries have benefitted economically from ongoing research. Discoveries made at the Synchrotron have led to new non-toxic leather tanning processes, with estimated annual contributions of $125 million to the leather and shoe industry.
New Zealand researchers are also using the Synchrotron to create a new high-fashion fibre that combines the special properties of gold and silver nanoparticles, with the feel of merino wool.
“The goal of the Synchrotron is to be the catalyst for high quality research and innovation in Australia and New Zealand. The Government is committed to investing in science that delivers excellence and impact, which is what our relationship with the Synchrotron delivers for New Zealand,” says Mr Goldsmith.
More information about the Australian Synchrotron is available on its website.
Mr Goldsmith is in Australia from 28-30 March to meet with his Australian counterpart and other key people in the science sector.
Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith is today travelling to Australia to advance science and innovation collaboration between New Zealand and Australia.
“It’s great to see that our already extensive collaboration with Australia now has a clear work programme in the form of the recently signed the Australia-New Zealand Science, Research and Innovation Cooperation Agreement,” says Mr Goldsmith.
“Meeting with key people in the science and innovation sector will allow for a deeper practical understanding of the impact of the agreement, and also allow me to reaffirm our strong scientific links, which benefit both Australia and New Zealand.”
During the visit to Melbourne and Canberra, Mr Goldsmith will meet with his Australian counterparts, the Minister for Industry, Science and Innovation, Hon Arthur Sinodinos, and the Minister for Education and Training, Hon Simon Birmingham, as well as other science and innovation sector leaders.
Mr Goldsmith will visit the Australian Synchrotron in Melbourne, which is co-funded by the New Zealand Government, to observe the research opportunities that significant infrastructure like the Synchrotron can provide. He will also tour the Whisstock lab at Monash University, which undertakes world-leading genomics and imaging work.
Mr Goldsmith will be in Australia from 28-30 March and will also undertake meetings relating to Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment, and Regulatory Reform.
Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Hon Paul Goldsmith has today announced the opening of the New Zealand China Sister Schools Fund for 2017.
Today’s announcement comes as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visits New Zealand, and an updated bilateral arrangement on cooperation in education and training is signed – one of the aims of which is to foster cooperation between the schools in both countries.
“Through initiatives such as the Sister Schools Fund, young New Zealanders have the opportunity to develop the skills needed to succeed in our increasingly global, connected world,” Mr Goldsmith says.
This is the third round of the fund, administered by Education New Zealand, which aims to support New Zealand schools’ relationships with their Chinese counterparts. It was first announced in 2014, following the visit of President Xi Jinping, and to date more than 40 New Zealand schools have been assisted by the fund to develop China sister school relationships.
“The Kiwi students involved in the programme, such as Hamilton Boys’ High School and Pigeon Mountain Primary in Auckland, are all gaining a deeper understanding of Chinese language and culture, and building on-going relationships with their Chinese peers,” Mr Goldsmith says.
Schools can apply to the fund for grants of up to $5000, from a total funding pool of $50,000, to support them to deepen existing sister school relationships.
The programme compliments the increasing number of New Zealand schools that are offering Chinese as a subject as awareness grows of the importance of China to New Zealand’s economy.
“Learning about Chinese language and culture will open cultural, diplomatic and trade opportunities for our young people. Chinese speakers will have an advantage in developing important business relationships, benefiting New Zealand’s economy into the future,” Mr Goldsmith says.
More information about the fund is available at www.enz.govt.nz.
A sister school partnership is a planned collaboration designed to benefit both schools. Applicants will need to explain how their planned activity will take an existing sister school relationship forward, and foster learning opportunities, cross-cultural skills development and friendship between New Zealand and China.
The fund is open to all New Zealand schools that are signatories to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice.
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith says new internationally-recognised research that aims to improve rehabilitation of people after they have a stroke is an important step forward.
“Around 9,000 people have a stroke each year in New Zealand. Early identification and treatment is crucial to reduce the likelihood of brain damage and lasting harm,” says Dr Coleman.
“Of these, around a third of people who experience significant disability following stroke could benefit from intensive inpatient rehabilitation.
“To help support this, the University of Auckland has created a tool that gives therapists a way to better predict at an early stage how well a stroke patient will recover the use of their hands and arms.
“Even experienced therapists struggle to predict the degree to which someone will recover use of their hands or arms post-stroke, but the PREP tool has been shown to correctly predict the outcome in 80 per cent of cases.
“Research recently released shows the tool helps therapists better target their rehabilitation, and see a patient leaving hospital for home on average, a week earlier than for patients where the tool was not used.”
“Through this union of science and healthcare we hope to make inroads into reducing the toll of these diseases on people’s lives and in reducing the burden socially and economically,” says Mr Goldsmith.
“A study of Auckland stroke patients using the PREP tool was funded by the Health Research Council and is a great example of research that is already translating into changes in care.
“I’m told researchers have already trained Auckland Hospital therapists in the use of the tool. They are also training staff at other New Zealand hospitals, as well as hospitals in the US and the UK.”
The Government's ongoing commitment to health research is demonstrated in the Budget 2016 announcement of an extra $97 million over the next four years for the Health Research Council.
Further details about this research are available on the Health Research Council of New Zealand website www.hrc.govt.nz.
A major investment announced by Huawei today will support our efforts to build an innovative, world leading economy, Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith say.
Chinese telecommunications equipment manufacturer, Huawei, has announced it will commit up to $400 million over five years to research and development and digital innovation in New Zealand.
Highlights of the investment include:$250 million in procurement from New Zealand companies Working with local partners to build a New Zealand Cloud Data Centre Opening an Innovation Lab at Victoria University of Wellington in 2017 Building an Innovation Lab in Christchurch Expand the Seeds for the Future University Student Programme to 100 ICT students
“The depth of the investment will touch many areas of the economy and open up global opportunities for New Zealand. The initiatives that Huawei is committing to will also help strengthen our research and development activity and capability building in the digital and technological world,” says Mr Bridges.
“International connections are important if we are to be productive and competitive in the global market place. Having access to the resources and technology lifts our ability to be innovative, agile and productive. We have identified this as a priority in the Business Growth Agenda,” says Mr Bridges.
“We must attract quality international investment to get the growth we need to deliver more highly-paid jobs for New Zealanders,” says Mr Bridges.
“New Zealand’s hi-tech sector is one of our fastest growing sectors. The Government is investing in the sector through the $411 million Innovative New Zealand package, in order to lift total government investment in science and innovation to $1.6 billion by 2020,” says Mr Goldsmith.
“The establishment of another New Zealand-based Cloud Data Centre will be a step forward for local companies and institutions looking to test new innovations on a locally-based platform, while the expansion of the Seeds for the Future programme will give 100 of New Zealand's brightest ICT and engineering undergraduates the opportunity to learn offshore and bring those skills home," says Mr Goldsmith.
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.