May 2020 President's Update

7 Jun 2020 14:30 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

The following went out to members on the 28th of May. 

Tēnā koutou katoa

I hope you and your bubble have been healthy through the unprecedented times of the past couple months. I’d like to acknowledge the amazing work of all the scientists who helped our ‘team of five million’ get to the success we have now – five days of no new cases of COVID-19. There are obviously many to thank, and too many to name. Among our prominent members Siouxsie Wiles and Shaun Hendy have been standouts on science communication and coordination.

My last President’s update came just at the beginning of our coronavirus saga, on the day incoming passengers were first required to self-isolate for two weeks. The ‘one-minute’ survey in that update provided a sense of your thoughts that I and our council found useful. Twenty-nine filled in the survey, yielding the following. 

Overall, members who took the time to answer appear broadly happy with what we’ve been doing, and issues we’ve been taking up. But they are spread across categories as to what we should be doing and split on whether we did enough to respond to the controversy over Massey Albany. There was strong agreement that equity is a matter of concern, but it scored a distant 4th among top issues to address, behind stability, funding and silencing.

Since the crisis began, we’ve been primarily engaged in trying to understand the impacts of the crisis on science institutions and scientists. We put out a statement on 9 April, detailing initial analysis and have also been involved in discussions across scientific societies on mitigating the impacts on post-graduate students. We were featured in the Herald's piece on science funding in the Government's budget, and had more analysis available via the Science Media Centre.

The timing of this update was aligned to let you know of my public webinar, hosted by the Public Service Association (PSA) on “Restoring Research for the Restoration of Well-beings.” There were great questionnow a final Q&A . The PSA is the union representing CRI, Callaghan Innovation and many government and regional council scientists. You’ll be able to watch the webinar later if you can’t tune in, and a draft chapter in the PSA’s ‘Progressive Thinking’ series is now available extending NZAS’ analysis of how the research system and its funding can best respond to the crisis. Update: a final additional Q&A has been posted on our Tēnā koutou katoa

I hope you and your bubble have been healthy through the unprecedented times of the past couple months. I’d like to acknowledge the amazing work of all the scientists who helped our ‘team of five million’ get to the success we have now – five days of no new cases of COVID-19. There are obviously many to thank, and too many to name. Among our prominent members Siouxsie Wiles and Shaun Hendy have been standouts on science communication and coordination.

My last President’s update came just at the beginning of our coronavirus saga, on the day incoming passengers were first required to self-isolate for two weeks. The ‘one-minute’ survey in that update provided a sense of your thoughts that I and our council found useful. Twenty-nine filled in the survey, yielding the following. 

Overall, members who took the time to answer appear broadly happy with what we’ve been doing, and issues we’ve been taking up. But they are spread across categories as to what we should be doing and split on whether we did enough to respond to the controversy over Massey Albany. There was strong agreement that equity is a matter of concern, but it scored a distant 4th among top issues to address.

Since the crisis began, we’ve been primarily engaged in trying to understand the impacts of the crisis on science institutions and scientists. We put out a statement on 9 April, detailing initial analysis and have also been involved in discussions across scientific societies on mitigating the impacts on post-graduate students. We were featured in the Herald's piece on science funding in the Government's budget, and had more analysis available via the Science Media Centre.

The timing of this update was aligned to my public webinar today, hosted by the Public Service Association (PSA) on “Restoring Research for the Restoration of Well-beings.” The PSA is the union representing CRI, Callaghan Innovation and many government and regional council scientists. You’ll be able to watch the webinar later if you can’t tune in, and a draft chapter in the PSA’s ‘Progressive Thinking’ series is now available extending NZAS’ analysis of how the research system and its funding can best respond to the crisis. [Update: additional Q&A on our website.]

I’d like to close by thanking all those involved in the Government response, and its excellent incorporation of science, data and advice. 

 

Kia kaha scientists

Troy Baisden

NZAS President

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