Alert Newsletter: Issue 573a: Special Budget Issue

1. Budget Comments from the President of the Royal Society, Neville Jordan

The President of the Royal Society Neville Jordan released the following media statement soon after the budget announcements:

Budget initiatives announced today in support of science and research are a big step in the right direction, according to Neville Jordan, President of the Royal Society of New Zealand.

‘Investing in the country’s scientists is vital, not only to help find ways for New Zealand to recover from the current recession but also, longer term, to enhance and underpin New Zealand’s economic stability and growth, and our reputation as a cutting edge environment for global research,’ Mr Jordan said. ‘On-going investment will be crucial to promoting productivity, growth and innovation to drive New Zealand forward.’

Mr Jordan said the Royal Society was especially pleased with the Budget’s $9 million annual increase in investment in the Marsden Fund – the biggest increase since the Fund was established 14 years ago and one which takes its annual funding to $51.6 million.

‘The Marsden Fund plays an important role in supporting the research of New Zealand’s top scientists and is also vital in nurturing up and coming young scientists, a role that is close to the heart of the Royal Society.

‘The increase in funding for the CRI Capability Fund, the HRC, and the Marsden Fund shows the Government’s commitment to scientific excellence and building sector capability. Supporting excellence is a key role of the Royal Society so applaud this.’

Alongside funding increases, the Budget announcement of a Prime Minister’s Prize for Science will be a great fillip to the science community, Mr Jordan said.

‘For a long time scientists have felt that they have not had the recognition commensurate with their contribution to New Zealand. That these prizes are to be presented by the Prime Minister, and will include recognising our young scientists, will help raise the profile of this contribution.’

The Royal Society looks forward to working with the government as it develops its science priorities. This Budget supports the first stages of the government’s plan to raise the profile and prestige of science in New Zealand.

2. Research, Science and Technology Budget Information

In summary yesterday’s Budget for RS&T included:

Increasing the Crown Research Capability Fund by $40 million over four years in the Crown research institute (CRI) Capability Fund.
Increasing the Marsden Fund by $36 million over four years into the Marsden Fund.
Increasing health research by $32 million over the next four years to ensure the health and social well-being of New Zealanders.
The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science – $4 million over four years to raise the profile of science
A $16 million capital injection for the Kiwi Advanced Research and Education Network (KAREN).

Information on the RS&T Budget announcements can be found on the MoRST website: http://www.morst.govt.nz/funding/Budget-2009/

Further detail can also be found on the Treasury website: http://www.treasury.govt.nz/budget/2009/estimates

3. Science Media Centre Budget Comments

Comments on the RS&T Budget can be found on the Science Media Centre: http://www.sciencemediacentre.co.nz/

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