• 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

  • 25 Jul 2021 13:00 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    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." 

  • 16 Jul 2021 10:52 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    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.   

  • 15 Jun 2021 00:30 | Anonymous member

    The winners of the NZAS 2020 Awards have been announced:

    Marsden Medal: Prof. Martha Savage

    Shorland Medal: Prof. Mark Costello

    Hill Tinsley Medal: Assoc. Prof. Frédérique Vanholsbeeck

    Cranwell Medal: Dr Dianne Sika-Paotonu

    Congratulations to all of the medal winners!

    For full details of these outstanding scientists and their achievements, see the 2020 Awards Recipients page.

  • 23 May 2021 20:09 | Anonymous member

    The Environmental Protection Agency is calling for information on the use of the weed killer glyphosate in New Zealand. See Glyphosate: Call for information | EPA

    This request is the first step in deciding whether to change the rules around its use. Glyphosate is used in weed killers, such as Roundup, by gardeners, farmers and councils, but the possible environmental and health effects have been subject to public debate.

    If there are grounds to reassess glyphosate and a formal reassessment application is made, the public will have an opportunity to make submissions on the application once it has been publicly notified.

    The EPA's current position, similar to Australia, Canada, the US and the EU, is that glyphosate products are safe as long as all the rules for use are followed. Its use is currently being reviewed in Europe.

    Meantime you may read an extensive review of glyphosate’s discovery, use of Roundup® in New Zealand and its impacts on human health, livestock, and ecosystems by Ian Shaw Professor of Toxicology at Canterbury University. 

    Is it time to round up Roundup®? The changing science of glyphosate - Prof. Ian C Shaw - NZSR article advance publication

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