New initiatives to help Kiwis connect with science

  • Steven Joyce
Science and Innovation

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce today announced two pilot initiatives to lift New Zealanders’ engagement with science and technology.

The Unlocking Curious Minds Fund offers $1 million in contestable funding to support projects that find new ways to engage young people in particular with science and technology.

The second pilot is a Participatory Science Platform that will create research partnerships between communities and scientists.

“Both initiatives are projects identified in the blueprint for the Science in Society project, A Nation of Curious Minds,” Mr Joyce says.

“The overall objective of A Nation of Curious Minds is to encourage and enable better engagement with science and technology across New Zealand.  These two initiatives will contribute to this goal by linking people to science that is relevant to their everyday lives.”

The Fund offers two levels of grants: up to $20,000 for local projects, and up to $150,000 for regional or national projects. Applications are sought from individuals and organisations.

The goal of the Platform is to involve communities in locally relevant research projects that have broad appeal, scientific value, and strong educational standing. Funding of $900,000 is available to pilot the Platform in South Auckland, Taranaki and Otago.

“The recent Public Attitudes to Science and Technology survey, which was conducted as part of the Science in Society project, showed that there are opportunities to improve the relevance and communication of science,” Mr Joyce says.

“Science and the knowledge and innovation that flow from it play a critical role in creating and defining our future. They are fundamental to our growing economy and improving living standards for all New Zealanders.”

The Science in Society project has been developed in response to the National Science Challenges Panel’s leadership challenge to improve the understanding, skills, and adoption of science and technology in New Zealand.

A Nation of Curious Minds was released by Mr Joyce and Education Minister Hekia Parata in July 2014, and was developed by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the Ministry of Education with close involvement from the office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor.

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