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  • 30 Aug 2022 08:00 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    New Zealand Association of Scientists Council has prepared a short article providing some background and perspectives on Mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) and science, from the point of view of predominantly non-Māori scientists. It is intended for people who are new to New Zealand and/or are interested in understanding why organisations such as the New Zealand Association of Scientists (NZAS) support the recognition of mātauranga and its integration with science.  

    NZAS Council Perspectives on Mātauranga and Science.pdf

  • 17 Mar 2022 10:39 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    After a mammoth effort from everybody across the RSI sector, submissions on the Te Ara Paerangi Future Pathways green paper closed yesterday. You can find our submission here as a PDF: 

    NZAS Te Ara Paerangi Submission (1).pdf

    or on our website as an html page.

    We also encourage everybody interested in this process to join the Te Ara Paerangi Community Hub, an unofficial website by and for the research community, which has been set up to help people archive and share submissions as this process continues. A fantastic amount of work is being done to envision a better research system and we believe it is important that this remains visible. 

  • 31 Oct 2021 20:00 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    NZAS has been calling for many of the elements in the Future Pathways Green Paper. Here was our official release. Read our Renewal Discussion Doc for ideas on how to respond to Future Pathways, to help make the future of science work for the people who do science!

    (Originally posted 14 May 2021)

    Building back better through a renewal of the science system?

    We all talk about building back better after COVID, and its time to talk about what this can look like for science.

    Here's our discussion document (link) on renewal of the science and innovation system, also featured in the New Zealand Science Review.

    Below is our press release on the subject at the time of release. 

    14 May 2021

    Advances or Austerity: What Will Budget 2021 Bring For Science?

    “Many New Zealanders credit science and scientists with the successful strategies that saved us from the worst of the pandemic.” said NZAS President Prof Troy Baisden. “Yet most if not all the nation’s scientists got the message this week that their institutions fall into the broad areas of the public service expecting a pay ‘freeze’. Now is the time to read the signal: will we invest in advances and build back better?”

    “Other nations, notably the United States, appear poised to invest massively in science and technology to stimulate their economies. They’re building off wide public support for the biotech that built vaccines.”

    “If Aotearoa wants advances and excellent use of science like we’ve seen during COVID, we have to invest like other nations. Instead, our scientists are coping with 30 years of austerity. Scientists are wondering if the current Government’s pledge to double R&D investment is real.”

    “If the budget signals no new path for New Zealand’s science funding, this means that smart Kiwis going into science face many difficult years of low pay. Top PhD scholarships were once close to a living wage, but have now crossed under the minimum wage and even under training wages for apprentices. They risk no pay if their work stretches into a fourth year, and then years of gruelling applications for grants and fellowships while juggling short contracts.”

    “Next Thursday, the Government’s Budget will let our scientists know if they get their wish for a society that supports them, and the advances they create across issues ranging from health, to climate change, agriculture, and technology. Government investment spills over into society and the private sector in nations with higher well being.

    “Australia’s Budget delivered austerity for their scientists this week. If our Budget copies our neighbour’s, we failed to understand that New Zealand science’s emergency response to COVID was a special case. Do we need a renewed and reformed science system that looks and feels like the COVID response? What would this look like?" 

    The New Zealand Association of Scientists has developed a vision for rebuilding the science system Aotearoa deserves. Here are two starting points that deserve highlighting as we look ahead to the Budget and beyond:

    • Value stable science careers that can take a steady path to big advances, with a strong focus on repairing support for young Kiwi researchers.
    • Repackage high overheads into renewed stable funding for trustworthy institutions acting as strategic stewards of science and research, within international norms.

    “Scientists are asking whether the budget will bring advances or austerity? Will they finally see the end to 30 years underneath a sinking lid of austerity that has weighed on them and left our international competitiveness on the back foot? What’s needed to build back better? How can we all work together to build the science system New Zealand deserves?”

  • 31 Oct 2021 19:39 | Anonymous member

    At the New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF) this year is a new documentary on Dame Professor Juliet Gerrard, the PM's Chief Science Advisor. 

    Directed by Shirley Horrocks, Science in Dark Times follows Dame Juliet through three years of dramatic crises, including the Whakaari White Island eruption and the unfolding of the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Tickets available now for screenings in Wellington November 7-9.

    Flicks.co.nz interview - Shirley Horrocks on new doco about the PM’s Chief Science Advisor

  • 31 Oct 2021 19:12 | Anonymous member

    Te Ara Paerangi Future Pathways, the long-awaited government green paper on reshaping Aotearoa New Zealand’s science system, has been released, and consultation is open now.  This is a very wide-ranging consultation covering many issues including the setting of national science priorities, embedding Te Tiriti in the system, addressing science careers and precarity, improving opportunities for mātauranga Māori, research funding and overheads, institutions and infrastructure.

    You can find the green paper, supporting documents and a recording of the video announcing and introducing the green paper from Minister of Science and Innovation Dr Megan Woods and Associate Minister of Science and Innovation Dr Ayesha Verrall, on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website.

    Te Ara Paerangi - Future pathways

    MBIE will be running webinars on the green paper on (November 2,3 and 10) which anyone can register for here and future workshops and detailed meetings on the consultation are planned.

    Submissions are due 2 March 2022 by 5pm.

    Other useful links:

    The New Zealand Association of Scientists:

    Renewing the Aotearoa New Zealand Science System discussion document


    Te Pae Kahurangi – 2020 review of the Crown Research Institutes (CRIs)

    The Research Science and Innovation Report 2021

    Science New Zealand:

    The Value of CRIs in the New Zealand Science System

    Pathways to the Future

  • 31 Oct 2021 18:23 | Anonymous member

    The latest edition of the report on the performance of the New Zealand research, science and innovation system has been released by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

    The Research, Science and Innovation report – 2021 

    This is the third report on the performance of the science system since the release of the National Statement of Science Investment 2015-2025 

    The two previous reports can be found below:

    Science & Innovation System Performance Report – 2016

    Research, Science and Innovation System Performance report – 2018

  • 24 Oct 2021 20:03 | Anonymous member

    Just published for NZAS members a thematic issue of New Zealand Science Review covering presentations at the Feed Our Future conference run by The Riddet Institute in Wellington, June 9, 2021.

    Feed Our Future: A New Zealand Sustainable Food Systems Dialogue

    Feed Our Future – an opportunity to discuss the science of sustainable food systemsWarren McNabb

    Congratulations – Allen Petrey, for NZAS Council

    Nutrition comes first

    Back to the future food systems – Barbara Burlingame

    Healthy and sustainable diets: providing nutrition, not only nutrients – Thom Huppertz

    The availability and affordability of nutrition – Nick W. Smith

    Discussion Session 1

    The current food system conversation

    Origin of the current conversation: An exploration of the animal/plant divideFrédéric Leroy

    Producing animal source food with respect for human and planetary health

    Hannah H.E. van Zanten, Benjamin van Selm, Anita Frehner

    Discussion Session 2

    Food systems impact

    Our connected future with the turn-key technologies that are reducing food waste and improving nutrition – Wayne Martindale

    Environmental footprinting of New Zealand agricultural products and implications for food nutrition – Stewart F. Ledgard

    Discussion Session 3

    Changing the food system?

    The changing face of protein production – Paul Wood and Mahya Tavan

    Consumers are central to any change in the food system – Joanne Hort

    Discussion Session 4

    Overall conclusion on the audience discussions

    Concluding commentary

    Feeding the future: Reflections on the food systems discussion – John Roche

  • 27 Sep 2021 17:00 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Our early career researchers Lucy Stewart, Khoon Lim, Georgia Carson and Ben Dickson have prepared an open letter to Marsden Fund Council, and obtained over 700 signatures.

    Shouldn't our nation's leading research fund attract the best and brightest by paying the equivalent of a living wage?

    Here is the Open Letter to the Marsden Council.pdf.
  • 14 Sep 2021 11:37 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Science New Zealand, the consortium of Crown Research Institutes (CRIs), has released two major discussion documents. 

    They're slightly messy to download from issu.com, here they are (as PDF):

    The Value of CRIs in the New Zealand Science System

    Pathways to the Future

    What do you think of their recommendations for the future? Do they make sense? Can you see the science? Does CRI leadership provide a clear and compelling view?

    Recommendations from Pathways to the Future:

    1. An RD&I Council establishes a small number of high-level priorities (or Missions) for Aotearoa New Zealand that science can contribute to
    2. MBIE increases the level of institutional funding to the PRIs to empower them and enable them to deliver on the commitments they make as part of the Mission Strategy Teams
    3. Each Mission has a clearly identified impact target and a defined timeframe for its achievement, e.g., reduce methane emissions by X% within X years
    4. For each Mission a National Science Strategy is developed by a four-way coalition of Industry, Government, Māori and Research.
    5. Government engage with Māori to understand the changes they require the Crown to make so that Māori are empowered to take a full partnership role in both the establishment of priorities and the development of Mission strategies
    6. Missions replace existing mechanisms to drive vertical as well as horizontal alignment of effort to achieve national priorities
    7. The RD&I Council review the alignment of PRIs with end users to ensure that major end user groups have a simple and clear alignment to a single PRI – this may involve the creation of a new PRI if there is a significant gap
    8. Existing collaboration mechanisms are reviewed and where possible removed in order to both save cost and increase the focus on the new Mission approach
    9.  Domain leaders who are able to represent the key stakeholders in their domain are appointed to the Strategy Teams
    10.  Each of the key organisations needed to support Mission strategies is empowered and enabled to act rather than contracted into acting via funding mechanisms
    11. Discussion on co-location of research organisations be broadened to include all 4 strands of the quadruple helix and all 3 layers of the RD&I system
    12. Repayable grant mechanisms are expanded to support emerging sectors and companies in priority areas

    NZAS has no overall comment on these documents, but our Council has identified that:

    • The CRIs and their SSIF funding do have value, but there's not a coherent compelling path presented for change of $190m of ongoing support.
    • The value of the current and future science workforce seems obvious, but is not clear in Future Pathways. It is not clear the current dependence on overseas recruitment of science leaders can continue sustainably or is in the national interest.
    • At first glance, the success of NZ's COVID response is used as a case for mission-led research, but the proposal points to prioritisation of mission-led silos that would eliminate the collaborative mechanisms underpinning the COVID response.
    • Removing overcomplicated or unworkable governance remains a laudable goal, but not when the future might be valued and decided by varnishing hard-to-define concepts like 'the quadruple helix'. There is no indication of what future science should be prioritised.
    • There remains a need for implementation of more uniform approaches to help the growing diversity of Aotearoa New Zealand navigate and get successes from the current science system. Such success would should make the whole nation value research, science and technology more, aiding the case for future investment. Implementing the existing diversity policy would be a better start.
    • The role of Callaghan Innovation and the diaspora of applied chemistry and physics researchers from the former CRI Industrial Research needs further consideration.
    • Improving the system requires better understanding of barriers and gaps, including the unnecessary gap between fundamental and applied research, and the gap between our government-funded research sector and the applications and development in private sector. Better flow of research across these gaps is highly desirable, and deserves further exploration.

    As a reminder: NZAS has a recent discussion document, developed over the past year, out on the future of the research system. It considers many of these issues.

  • 27 Jul 2021 17:00 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    A statement prepared by NZAS Council on Science and Mātauranga is now available (linked here).

    Our statement makes an effort to respond to requests from Māori colleagues to reaffirm the value of mātauranga and also address specific concerns.

    I'd like to take a moment to acknowledge that the sudden focus on this discourse has been between upsetting and hurtful for many Māori scientists, and for tau iwi. It has also been unsettling for many scientists – the discourse asks us each to reconsider the values and assumptions underlying the ways we use science to understand our world. 

    Finally, I'd like to acknowledge the commitment and energy of authors and contributors on our Council who have debated the difficult points within this statement.

    Troy Baisden

    President NZAS

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