Jul 1, 2008

Science Funding

Anthony Scott yesterday became Preident of New Zealand's oldest Rotary Club, Wellington. Today he has a major opinion piece in the NZ Herald.

Scott is the CEO of the recently established Science New Zealand. He reminds us

New Zealanders work some of the longest hours in the developed world; there are more of us in work than anywhere else in the OECD. Yet from being the third richest nation, we are now in the bottom third.
The 21 countries ahead of us earn more for each hour worked than we do. Why? Principally through science and technology.
Our research, science and technology spend is half that of the OECD average. The government spend is 75 per cent of the OECD average and the private sector is 25 per cent.


Without adequate investment to raise our productivity, we will be unable to afford the health and welfare we take for granted. Our children will go overseas and never return.
The New Zealand Institute projects that if we continue as is, we shall slip from 70 per cent of Australia's GDP per capita, to 40 per cent by 2030.

A solution?

scientific knowledge is important and it can be very profitable. Other countries believe this; we do not.
This is the message that science, business and political leaders must take to the people of New Zealand, to build a constituency of support for real action. The Crown Research Institutes established Science New Zealand this year to do just this.
A world-class science system for New Zealand will have a balance of investment that delivers on existing needs; explores the future and creates choices; and reaches into the blue skies around our areas of excellence. Lets focus our efforts on that.