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:
“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?”
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
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
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
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 systems- Warren 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 divide – Frédéric 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
Feeding the future: Reflections on the food systems discussion – John Roche
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?
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):
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:
NZAS has no overall comment on these documents, but our Council has identified that:
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.
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.
NZAS Council is working on a new statement following new debate on the topic of Mātauranga and Science, following on the Double Special Issues in our New Zealand Science Review last year.
Those special issues are available at the link above. To further support their use, the following around now available as separate pdf documents links.
Foreword – Juliet Gerrard and Tahu Kukutai (pdf)
Mātauranga and Science – Introduction – Ocean Mercier and Anne-Marie Jackson (pdf)
Juliet Gerrard and Tahu Kukutai write:
"To turn the tide on anti-science sentiment we need to reframe our science as ‘here to serve’, and ‘here to listen’. Science in Aotearoa New Zealand, and indeed the world, has much to learn from Māori ways of doing, as well as ways of knowing, to bridge these divides."
As an organisation, the New Zealand Association of Scientists (NZAS) recognises the importance of inclusiveness and kindness in science. Transgender, intersex, and gender diverse Kiwis experience significant discrimination within our society. This is partially due to our science system’s inability to even engage with them as part of our population - only this year has Stats NZ offered guidance for collecting sex and gender data which addresses the full scope of gender diversity in Aotearoa.
Additionally, misinformed claims of ‘science’ are often used as a tool of oppression against these groups. It concerns us to see incorrect claims being made that ‘science’ supports the definition of all humans into one of two categories based on assignment of sex at birth. We see science as one of the most important ways we have of learning and talking about ourselves, our world, and everyone within it (we are, after all, scientists). The NZAS recognises that the scientific consensus tells us that gender cannot be reduced down to any simple combination of an individual’s chromosomes, hormones, genitalia, or any other characteristic: it is not a simple binary. The principles of inclusiveness and kindness in science tell us to engage with people as who they are, recognising the world around us, and within us, as it is rather than as we think it should be.
Despite the challenges they face, we already work with trans, gender diverse, and intersex scientists of all genders. They are working and leading in science in Aotearoa as scientists and equals. We support them and all efforts to make science and society in Aotearoa safer for everybody, by taking the stance that this is not only the moral thing to do, nor only the scientifically most valid perspective: supporting trans, gender diverse, and intersex scientists of all genders produces better science for all of society.
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