New Framework For Government Research Investment

  • Maurice Williamson
Research, Science and Technology

The Government's goal of developing New Zealand as a knowledge-based society came another step closer today with the announcement by Research, Science and Technology Minister Maurice Williamson of a new framework for Government research investment.

"For as long as can be remembered, we have focused on how much the Government proposes to spend on research, science and technology. The new focus will be on identifying what the Government seeks to achieve through its investment," said Mr Williamson.

While launching the "Blueprint for Change", Mr Williamson said the Government would now provide a framework for research, rather than merely directing resources into particular programmes.

"This approach follows the Foresight Project which focused on what sort of country we want to live in next century. We're now in the position of defining those areas which we want to put our funding towards, for the benefit of current and future generations of New Zealanders," Mr Williamson said.

"Our goal is to develop New Zealand as a knowledge society that enhances our future prosperity and well-being. It will build on the Foresight Project, which identified the steps we need to take to develop the knowledge-based society," said Mr Williamson.

"The Blueprint sets out the key directions for future investment decisions, innovation and performance."

Mr Williamson said a wide range of groups must be encouraged to think strategically about the future directions of their sectors and identify their innovation needs and the contribution research, science and technology (RS & T) can play in this.

"For New Zealand to keep up with the demands of the global knowledge economy, we need to be quite sure that we are investing our research dollars appropriately. In addition, we need to be sure that industry is also playing a key role in developing its own competencies and research capabilities."

In the Blueprint, the Government is looking to:

expand the knowledge base
enhance and stimulate learning systems and enterprise
improve competitive positioning
increase technological capability
develop and apply new knowledge-based processes and technologies
increase and build on the knowledge and understanding of environmental systems and of social well-being
"Because of the long-term nature of many research science and technology goals, the Blueprint sets out long-term directions for research. Our four goals are to accelerate knowledge creation, to use RS&T to enhance the competitiveness of New Zealand business, to improve our ability to sustain and maintain a healthy environment, and to ensure all New Zealanders enjoy health and independence with a sense of partnership in our future," said Mr Williamson.

Mr Williamson expressed his pleasure for the support that has already been given by Chief Executive of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology Steve Thompson

Dr Thompson said earlier today, "I am looking forward to the benefits that will come from this new strategic outcomes focus for government's investment in research, science and technology. This will provide many opportunities for the Foundation to make a difference for New Zealand"

The changes will be implemented over the next two years while the last of the long term research projects under the current system will all be completed by 2004.