Govt invests $133m in new science projects

  • Steven Joyce
Science and Innovation

New Zealand researchers have been awarded $133 million in new research grants, Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce announced today.

The first tranche of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s 2012 science investment round will support 47 research projects in the biological industries; energy and minerals; the environment; hazards and infrastructure; and health and society funding categories.

The new research contracts take effect from 1 October this year. The contracts run for between two and six years. Funding of $32.8 million will be spent in the current financial year.

Funding for research in the high-value manufacturing and services sector will be announced in the next few weeks.

“The successful proposals so far range from research into combating the Psa bacterial disease in kiwifruit; to enhancing the resilience of underground infrastructure in Christchurch,” Mr Joyce says.

“Science is both a driver of economic growth and a strong platform for evidence based decision making across society. These projects have been selected on the basis of their high-quality science and the difference they can make.”

This year there is an increased focus on encouraging promising new ideas that can deliver commercial results with 11 applicants receiving funding through the Smart Ideas category.

Smart Ideas has two phases. The first phase allows researchers to develop their novel idea; then they will have to apply for further funding aimed at commercialising the work.

One of these projects, led by a young IRL researcher, is to develop a novel clean-energy storage technology designed to overcome problems with integrating renewable wind energy into the national grid.

“Ideas like this energy storage system can have significant commercial potential in New Zealand and globally - but they have to get to the point of being commercially viable,” Mr Joyce says.

“The Smart Ideas approach will help make this happen while strengthening relationships between science and businesses and developing the entrepreneurial culture among New Zealand researchers.”

All successful proposals were selected by MBIE’s Science Board after their proposals were reviewed by independent experts.

For more information on the successful research grants go to:
http://www.msi.govt.nz/get-funded/research-organisations/2012-investment-round/