Minister Challenges Science and Technology Community

  • Maurice Williamson
Research, Science and Technology

In announcing a joint science promotion programme, the Minister of Research, Science and Technology, the Hon. Maurice Williamson, today challenged the science and technology community to raise New Zealanders' appreciation of science and technology and its critical importance to the nation's future well-being.

"Our future economic, social and environmental well-being as a nation will depend on our ability to take advantage of the global trend of the 'knowledge revolution'," Mr Williamson said.

"We must get New Zealanders thinking about how science and technology can play an active role in helping them make decisions on personal, business or political directions. Our understanding of just how central science and technology will be in future will be a crucial factor in our ability to prosper and achieve all the diverse goals New Zealanders have.

"I believe that the responsibility lies with you who work in the science and technology area. Unless the practitioners can deliver the messages convincingly, we can not expect others to share our enthusiasm.

"Historically, New Zealanders have been reluctant to invest in research and development. But increasingly, the level of scientific and technological knowledge built into goods and services is becoming a vital component for our international competitiveness."

The Science and Technology Promotion Programme is co-ordinated jointly by the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology, the Royal Society of New Zealand, the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology and the Health Research Council of New Zealand.

Mr Williamson said that the programme's first steps include an Internet calendar of science and technology promotion events, the Wow! It's Science! programme identity, a communications training programme for scientists and a New Zealand science and technology Fact File. Later stages of the programme will include high-impact public communications aimed at businesses, educational institutes, parents and teachers.