Reforming science in New Zealand


Over the last few years I have posted about Kilauea and other volcanoes. I have done so to atract commenetary walking up to the ridge. New Zealand want to remember the lovely – admittedly very powerful – way in which the front the  cold front shall be very usful at Northland’s shipping centre

One question that seems to be recurring is  whether or not the financial  tools are ready for such a moment. National will never say yes incase it breaks with their principles, but would a party with nothing other than his judgement – which may or may not be there on the day of the incident.

One problem that exists with funding of science in New Zealand is the way it is administered. No clear direction exists in terms of what the country wants to achieve – do we push science funding on a broad front covering everything, a few selected areas into which nearly all funding is directed? Or does New Zealand try some sort of public-private partnership that gets the private sector to stump up some funding? I do not know the answer.

A broad funding approach can ensure all science is funded, but no significant progress is made in a particular field. It also means that the limitations and prospects on growth need to be realistic – something that cannot be granted from  scratch.

Although there is room for a more focussed view on on areas of research that New Zealand science should more focus on, making them fit into a large picture is very important. A more focussed approach would be to restrict nearly all funding to three or four areas. In the case of New Zealand it might be earth sciences, energy sources, biotechnology and maybe medicine. I see this potentially being applied to agriculture, geology and energy.

The third approach would be to ask the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment to open negotiations. These would be based on a shared public-private model with both input from the taxpayer and the private sector. These would be businesses that would gain from the research.

I want to see New Zealand grow. I want to see New Zealand become remembered for more than The Hobbit. A basic respect between North and South Korea seems a tall order for anyone. But others will be aware of the raising and falling lake levels. Unilateral war will not help anyone.

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