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Govt to enlist public on NZ Science Challenges - Joyce

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

New Zealanders are being asked to assist the Government identify the key scientific questions New Zealand needs to answer as part of developing the new $60 million National Science Challenges, Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce says.

Announcing the challenges today on board NIWA’s marine research vessel the Tangaroa, Mr Joyce says the National Science Challenges will over time focus much of New Zealand’s contracted public science investment on core science questions that are important to New Zealand.

"We expect to identify 10 or so big challenges that are crucial for New Zealand’s future. The $60 million for Science Challenges from Budget 2012 will be devoted to the first projects in support of those challenges. Cabinet has agreed that increasing amounts of our contract funding will be allocated to meeting the challenges as money becomes available," Mr Joyce says.

"The challenges may include environmental subjects like the sustainable exploration of our seas and oceans, how to intensify agriculture while improving the environment, plus perhaps our biggest public health challenge, or improving our resilience against natural hazards like earthquakes - it will be up to New Zealanders to let us know what they regard as our biggest challenges.

"As part of our engagement with the public, next month we will be launching a television and online advertising campaign inviting Kiwis to tell us what they believe New Zealand’s Science Challenges should be.

"Through the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment the Government will also be engaging directly with the broader science sector, research institutions, tertiary institutions and schools to get their feedback.

"This wide public discussion will help us identify the challenges, and at the same time increase the profile of science with the public and those considering a science career."

High level topics for the National Science Challenges will be identified in the first quarter of 2013, with the details of each challenge developed after that.

Cabinet will select the National Science Challenges in April 2013, following advice from an expert panel chaired by the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Adviser Sir Peter Gluckman.

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