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Te Ara Paerangi - Future Pathways
Te Ara Paerangi Future Pathways White Paper
Te Ara Paerangi Future Pathways White Paper
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Through Te Ara Paerangi, we want to build a future-focused system that advances the wellbeing of current and future generations of New Zealanders by addressing challenges and opportunities such as climate change, natural disasters, and the need to lift productivity.
The White Paper outlines they key actions and directions the Government is taking through Te Ara Paerangi. It provides a roadmap for how we will implement the changes and demonstrates how we will continue to work with you as the programme progresses.
Minister of Research, Science and Innovation Dr Ayesha Verrall
[Minister speaks to camera in an office]
Kia ora koutou.
A vibrant research, science and innovation system is crucial for building a better future for New Zealand. Science can address the complex social and health challenges that impair our wellbeing. Research and innovation is necessary to transition to a high-wage, low-emissions economy. And science is needed to protect our unique environment and biodiversity.
Last year, we published a Green Paper to guide consultation on the future science system. You told us what needed to change to realise a better future for New Zealand. To make meaningful impact, we will need to shift from a system with multiple small entities and strategies to one in which we focus our efforts on nationally significant priorities. Our investment needs to move from areas of traditional strength to the things that really matter to our future wellbeing and prosperity. We must release our talented people from unproductive competition for grants and give them the time to develop the skills and relationships to convert their great ideas into impact. Our system also needs to embed Te Tiriti and be more responsive to Māori and Pacific Peoples to improve the wealth and resilience of those communities.
After much discussion with the sector, I'm excited to release the White Paper for the Te Ara Paerangi – Future Pathways programme. The White Paper sets out 4 key areas for reform.
The first is to create new futures through focusing on the most important challenges and opportunities for our wellbeing. This will mean setting national research priorities. Priorities will be vehicles for building new capabilities and enable research work across disciplines. We will create impact by setting ambitious missions and strong connections between researchers and the people who will ultimately implement their innovation, be they government, industry, iwi, end users or communities.
Second is to embed Te Tiriti and Māori aspirations into the design of the research, science and innovation system. This means appropriate representation of Māori at all levels of our system and creating opportunities for Māori to pursue their own priorities, and mātauranga Māori.
Thirdly, we will build a system that truly supports an excellent and diverse workforce. This will require a greater emphasis on fellowships, as well as changing the incentives in our funding system to reduce contract churn and promote capability development. Pathways from science training to a broad range of careers needs to be supported by qualifications like applied PhDs, and closer collaboration between different parts of the sector.
And fourth is working to create a sustainable, resilient and cohesive system. We will ensure our public research organisations have the scope and scale to adapt to emerging priorities. We will consider reforming the company model of Crown Research Institutes to foster science for the public good. We will develop an infrastructure roadmap to co-ordinate investment and co-locate buildings where that offers synergies. We will establish long-term funding envelopes for those essential services that government needs like infectious diseases surveillance, or natural hazard monitoring, for example.
I encourage you to read the White Paper and be involved in Te Ara Paerangi – Future Pathways. It is important that we get these changes right, so we're committed to working with all parts of the research, science and innovation sector and in partnership with Māori and Pacific Peoples as we bring these reforms to life.
I look forward to working with you. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.
Read the White Paper
You can read the White Paper on our website or download a PDF version in the links below. There is also a summary version that covers high level details of the White Paper.
Te Ara Paerangi Future Pathways White Paper [PDF, 4.5 MB]
Read the Summary - Te Ara Paerangi Future Pathways White Paper
Summary - Te Ara Paerangi Future Pathways White Paper [PDF, 873 KB]
About the White Paper
The White Paper follows the Green Paper consultation between October 2021 and March 2022.
We carefully considered all feedback and ideas, investigated international research, science, and innovation systems, held workshops with focus groups and met regularly with sector peak bodies, other agencies and the Minister of Research, Science and Innovation.
Now, we are putting in place the policy directions outlined in the White Paper. As proposals for specific reform activities are developed over the next few months and years, we’ll be engaging with the sector and drawing from the wealth of ideas from the Green Paper submissions.
Following the release of the White Paper, we held online information sessions to:
- provide an overview of Te Ara Paerangi Future Pathways
- give an update on what has been happening since the White Paper launch
- answer questions from attendees.
The sessions included:
- Chief Science Advisor Gary Evans
- Director Māori Research Science and Innovation Dr Willy-John Martin
- General Manager Science System Investment and Performance Dr Prue Williams
- Manager Future Pathways Tara Thurlow-Rae.
If you didn’t have a chance to join, you can watch a recording of the information session:
Iain Cossar, General Manager of Science, isn't here at present. Hopefully he'll join us later, but if all of a sudden someone appears who I haven't introduced, it'll be Iain. Otherwise, we've got Dr Prue Williams, General Manager of the newly formed Future Research System branch at MBIE. We've got Dr Willy-John Martin, who we've met through the karakia, Director of Māori Research, Science and Innovation at MBIE. And of course, the boss, Tara Thurlow-Rae, manager of the Future Pathways team here at MBIE. So what I'll do now is, I was going to pass Iain, but I will instead pass the Prue Williams. Thanks, Prue.
Kia ora Gary and kia ora tatou. Hello, everybody.
It's a week ago now that Minister Verrall released the Te Ara Paerangi Future Pathways white paper. And this white paper builds on what we have heard from the sector through the consultation on the green paper and also on the over 900 submissions that we had on the green paper. And we had some workshops which were attended by over 1000 people. So all of those views have been incorporated into the white paper. And it represents a high-level vision for New Zealand's public RSI system. It includes key policy directions and actions, and also provides you with a roadmap to implement the reform programme. And I think it's really important to emphasise that the white paper is intended to be an enduring policy document that signals the beginning of a multi-year reform programme.
So why have we done this? Well, our innovators and researchers that we currently have served New Zealand well for the past 30 years. But 30 years, our current system based on 30 years ago needs to change if we look to the future and we want to be successful in the future. So then the green paper consultation really came up with an overwhelming desire and need for change in our RSI system. And that's because we recognise that our RSI system is really small, resources are spread quite thinly, our current system isn't well placed to adapt to evolving national needs that coming at us, like for instance, climate change in the future. And our institutions and funding structures also need to be reformed to support collaboration between researchers and get more interaction between researchers and the users of the research. And also we recognise that our workforce lacks diversity with Māori, Pacific peoples and women really underrepresented across the system, especially in senior roles. So the white paper sets [inaudible] these challenges.
As the Minister said in her launch of the white paper last week, if there's one word to summarise the purpose of these reforms, it's impact. So our vision for Te Ara Paerangi Future Pathways is to build an RSI system that supports wellbeing for all current and future New Zealanders. We want a high-wage, low-emissions economy and a thriving, protective environment. And we want to make sure that excellent, impactful research, science and innovation is supporting these objectives. So the reform, as set out on this slide here, provides a framework for how we will achieve our vision for the system and respond to the case for change.
The diagram shows you that it demonstrates that our people and the ability of our system to adapt to new challenges and opportunities will enable and maximise the output and the impact from the system. Underpinning this in encompassing all the other objectives, is embedding te Tiriti o Waitangi in the design of the RSI system. And the inclusion of an objective to embed te Tiriti across the system is really a step-change for us. It means that rather than limiting efforts to embed to just one objective, we're actually really wanting to present it through all the elements of Te Ara Paerangi Future Pathways.
What we'll do now is we'll go through each of these objectives in more detail.
So starting off with the objective about creating new futures. This is really our impact objective. So the policy directives in this objective really centre around identifying what are the important priorities for us to work as a RSI system, and also helping to pave the way to ensure that we get impact in those areas.
So one of the key initiatives there is establishing a set of national research priorities. And this will really help us to focus our resources on the most important economic or environment or social challenges. What we've heard from the sector is that there are lots and lots of strategies and lots of signals about priorities. But really providing that clear direction from government will help to reduce fragmentation and promote collaboration and rather than unproductive competition. We also suspect that these national research priorities will be a way of helping to build new capabilities, enabling researchers to work across disciplines.
To get that impact, though, we're going to need to do some other things. We're going to need to build strong connections between researchers and the people who will implement those innovations, including government, industry, iwi or communities. We also need to promote knowledge mobilisation so that we can accelerate innovation and diversity and scale up this impact.
And the other initiative there on this slide is global connectivity. We all know that international collaborations is really important to us here in New Zealand. And what we are wanting to do is to better facilitate global cooperation and collaboration. An example is what we're intending to become better associated with Horizon Europe in the future. The next objective is about embedding te Tiriti and I'm going to hand over to Willy-John to talk about that objective.
Tēnā nō koutou. One of the key messages from the green paper consultation was that, up to date, there's been inefficient expression of te Tiriti in RSI policies and many have commented that we've almost been silent. And so that the responses to Māori has been weak over the decades.
So Te Ara Paerangi Future Pathways acknowledges and responds to the strong call from across the sector by embedding te Tiriti into the design of the RSI system. We want to embed te Tiriti and Māori aspirations into the design of the system. This means appropriate representation of Māori at all levels of our system, and creating opportunities for Māori to pursue Māori priorities, and enable Mātauranga Māori research. The key policy directions in this objective are to advance Māori aspirations in the RSI system. By result, by removing barriers to entry and promoting Māori participation at all levels. Address the low proportion of funding that directly supports Māori researchers, including through Māori-led national research priorities. This will be a significant shift from national science challenges. We also wish to invest in Mātauranga Māori by partnering with Māori to explore the development of a dedicated platform.
And finally have the Crown lead by example as a partner to te Tiriti o Waitangi, including through an RSI te Tiriti o Waitangi statement. This will signal to the RSI sector how we can honour our Tiriti obligations and opportunities in the context of Te Ara Paerangi Future Pathways, in the context of research, science and innovation. Kia ora.
So the third objective is about valuing our people. As it says in the white paper, people are the greatest asset for the RSI system. And that's why, when we're thinking about the reforms, it's really important that they are people-centric reforms. We really want to build a system that supports an excellent and diverse workforce. We want to address a number of the issues that were raised in the consultation in treating high levels of career precarity, limited diversity, and high barriers to collaboration in mobility that affect the wellbeing of our workforce.
To make a difference, we're actually going to need to change quite a few things, including the incentives and their funding system, which are really aimed at things like competitiveness. We're really going to have to change these incentives to reduce the contract churn and promote capability development.
We may need some new things too if we really want people trained in science to enter a broad range of careers. So some of the key policy objectives in this objective here are around expanding the fellowship schemes to attract, develop and retain talented people. We also want to support training for our people so that they can access development opportunities.
And, as I said, we want to reduce some of the settings in this funding system that really go against secure employment. We also want to coordinate international talent attraction schemes so that New Zealand remains a really good place for international talent to come and have a science career. It's also important that we support diversity at all levels and grow representation of women, Māori, and Pacific peoples.
And while we're thinking about these linkages between people, we also want to make sure that the other initiatives, the other objectives that I've talked about also are linked into valuing people. So, for example, the national research priorities. It will be really important that there are opportunities within those for career development. For instance, for people to move between organisations and develop skills in those areas will be really important to us all as a whole system.
The last objective is around building system agility. And here what we want to do is build a system that adapts to new challenges and opportunities. We all need to ensure that we are tackling the pain points that hindered the effectiveness of our system. So some of the examples of key policy directions in this objective are to clarify the roles and responsibilities. We all know that the current system is quite cluttered with governance and different types of funding. So what we're really wanting to do here is clarifying the roles and responsibilities so decisions about governance and decisions about funding are made where they're most effective.
We also want to coordinate investment in future-oriented infrastructure by developing a system-wide infrastructure map, and consolidating building investments where appropriate.
We also want to be clear about what are public good science services and how they're funded. We also want to make sure that our public research institutions have the scope and scale to adapt to emerging challenges.
And on the topic of funding mechanisms, we want to support excellence and impactful research, reducing transaction costs in funding contests, and improving transparency of overhead funding, including options for integration into international funding competitions as well. Some of these policy directions will require some long-term planning and we really committed to working with the sector as we develop this work.
And so now I'm gonna hand over to Tara, who will talk to us about how we're going to implement some of these initiatives. Tara?
Kia ora, Prue, and thank you.
I know that many of you will be most interested in what's actually going to happen. So we've outlined in the white paper a bit of a phased approach, wanting to really focus efforts in the early instance on setting up immediate workforce and people support. We'll be making, developing some work around setting the strategic direction into the second phase of the programme, and then looking at how our governance funding and institutional reforms need to change where necessary to support the broader work in the broader of vision. The phases of the work indicate periods where the main focus of our efforts will be, but they're not the exclusive focus. So in reality, all change processes take a significant amount of time. They'll take a great deal of work over a number of months and years, and we'll be working on many aspects simultaneously.
But these phases represent a little bit more where the focus and where some of the changes will actually happen. So for example, we're not going to wait till 2026 to start detailed conversations about the best structure of our public research organisations or the best way to fund research. We will be having those conversations with you next year so that we can make sure we have a lot of the work done and a lot of the discussions and the ideas developed over a period of time by the time we get to the later phases of the work.
So phase one of the reform, we'll begin to make significant changes for the workforce. We'll start embedding te Tiriti in the RSI system in about 2023. So there'll be a workforce package, which will eventually include expansion of research fellowships, applied training schemes and an international talent attraction scheme. And that's going to help to ensure our RSI workforce is supported through this reform.
The government's obligations, expectations and aspirations for the RSI system will be outlined in the RSI te Tiriti o Waitangi statement, and this will guide MBIE in its role as a system steward and set expectations for the research institutions across the sector. The first step of embedded is embedding, the first step to embed te Tiriti in the design of the RSI system.
So phase two, which is beginning in 2024, we'll provide strategic direction for the RSI system by establishing national research priorities. As we've discussed before, the national research priorities are the government's tool to direct research science and innovation resources to meet the most important challenges and opportunities for New Zealand's social and environmental and economic wellbeing. But the work to set up, establish and identify these priorities starts already. So that will be a significant period of work next year. And we will be working with you to establish those systems.
Phase three, we'll implement any of the changes required to our public research organisations to achieve the vision. And as I said before, we are expecting to start working with you next year on ideas, discussion documents, putting out where options might be, so that we can start to prepare these options as things like priorities are put in place and identified over the coming couple of years.
So the question that I'm sure many of you want to ask us, is what's next? So I've just gone through a few of the deliverables that's going to come early in the piece, the te Tiriti statement and any of our workforce support, we're going to begin the consultation and discussions with you on the national research priorities process, and we're going to have some initial discussions on the institutional reform principles coming up over the next year. So while I hope we'll have a bit of a summer break, because we're ready to get our sleeves rolled up and get stuck in with you on a lot of the work that we want to do with you next year. And we know that many of these ideas came through in your submissions, those submissions are still live and being used for these ideas. So we will still be engaging on some of the great concepts put forward in the submissions process back in the green paper.
Of course, you can stay up to date on what's going on our website. So please sign up to alerts for that. That would be great. We are trying to put out newsletters each month to let you know what's going on, and any summaries and ideas papers to come up. And of course, you can always email us on the Te Ara Paerangi Future Pathways inbox if you are keen to know that more. And I think many of you do have contacts and with us and Prue is going to be leading our work. So we'll make sure that we try to engage as much as we can over the coming period. And I know that many of you are really keen to work on these particular complex problems with us over 2023. And I'll hand over to Prue.
Kia ora, Tara, thank you for that.
So just really want to reiterate that the release of the white paper is just the beginning of the reforms. We all want to make sure that the RSI system sets our researchers up for success and has an impact on the lives and wellbeing of all New Zealanders.
So to do this, we've identified these four objectives that we've been talking about this morning.
We're wanting our system to focus on the challenges and the opportunities of most significance to New Zealand.
We want to embed te Tiriti and Māori aspirations in its design.
We want to support our people to thrive and continue to produce excellent research.
And we want to adapt to new and emerging industries.
As the minister said, we have an opportunity to create an RSI system that will advance the economic, social, cultural and environmental wellbeing of all New Zealanders now and into the future. So just before I hand over to Gary to take your questions, I just really want to thank you all for taking the time to attend the session today. We really appreciate this is a really busy time of year, but thank you for taking the time to come and listen to us. And I think that's really important because your ongoing engagement is going to be crucial to the success of these reforms. And we look forward to working with you in the coming period of time.
And now, finally, the bit you've been waiting for. We'll take your questions. So I'll hand back to Gary who's going to explain how we're going to do this. Gary.
Thank, Prue. Thanks, everybody. That was great. As you were speaking, we've received some questions from the audience. So we're quietly going to work through those. You can keep asking your questions via the Q&A tab at the bottom of your screen during the session. And as a reminder, please type your questions in the Q&A tab at the bottom of the screen and we'll try to get through as many as we can in the time that we have.
So the first question is, team and I'm just as everybody, how will MBIE ensure that the te Tiriti statement will move beyond words on paper? Arguably, the impact of the diversity in science statement has been relatively limited. So how will the statement be different? You're in the gun, Willy-John.
Kia ora, and thank you for that question.
I think the key to this is to not just have a one way of understanding how to embed te Tiriti, but to look across all the things we're doing and understanding, just like you would fit any, any [inaudible] any fund. What's, what's, how do we understand what it is investing in and the purpose of that fund, the purpose of the diversity of funds that we have. As you're alluding to, I think that's Tara. It's going to, we're going to have to get a little better at how we monitor and understand what questions we asked, what data are collected, and also how MBIE can support people in the science system to understand how what our expectations are and how to live up to the Tiriti statements.
So it's not going to be a case of only having one tool in the toolbox to accomplish it. We're going to need quite a few things. I think, for a start, for instance, we're analysing some of our investments to understand how they've been performing for Māori. And that's beginning to affect the diversity statement as well, as something we're still working on. The collection of data, for instance, is a really important part of it as well. And I'm picking some of the legal obligations for privacy as a part of that diversity statement implementation. So we've got a bit of work ahead of us with a lot of these things. And that's why it's quite exciting to be at a time to give some consideration to them across the board so thank you.
Thanks Willy-John. Yeah, I know, you know, coming into the role four years ago, the diversity statement was, has been really helpful in terms of bringing together the engagement around, you know, what do we mean by diversity? How do we address this? And so, seeing this engagement around that particular statement has been really, really powerful from my perspective. So thank you, everybody who's engaged with us over that.
Perhaps I could just add, having a statement like the diversity statement gives us a platform which we can build on things. So for instance, the introduction of a narrative CV, which we're doing this year in the Endeavor round that's built on the fact that we have a diversity statement. And so thinking about how can we at MBIE make sure that all our initiatives are lining up so, and we expect the same will happen with the te Tiriti statements. So looking forward to having that.
Yeah, great question. So next, what process will be used to set national research priorities? How will this be different from that used to create the NSCs? Who would like to have a go at that?
You're looking at me, Gary.
Yes. Sorry, Prue.
That's fine. So look, you know, the national. Those of you who were around when we set the National Science Challenges as a set of priorities, that was done quite a number of years ago now. And we ran a process and had a panel and ended up with the challenges that we now have. And so we can learn a lot from that process. Obviously, it was a different era to what we're in now. So but I think some of the key things that we've heard through the consultation over the last year as we developed the white paper, some of the things we've heard is it's really important to make sure that, when we're setting priorities, we have the voices of government, of iwi, of researchers, of communities, all in there together.
So what we're doing now is we're thinking very carefully about what that process will be. Obviously, it's something that we need to get the process right. So that's where efforts are lying at the moment.
I think we should recognise a lot of people in the sector have been asking the same question. Certainly came through in the Q&A. And so it is something that the team has engaged with the sector a lot on, and thinking about very deeply. So thank you for that question. Next question. The green paper sought feedback on the possible introduction of a base grant funding model to improve stability and resilience of organisations in the research system, but there's no explicit mention of base grants in the white paper. Where's your thinking currently at regarding base grants? And this time I will look meaningfully at Tara.
So you'll look to me, Gary?
Yeah, really good question. We actually got a huge amount of feedback on the base grant issue, but what was discovered was that everyone had a very, very different idea of a base grant, what they wanted a different type of base grant to achieve, and such a variety of concepts of what a base grant is. So what we've tried to actually bring it back to is, what are the issues and challenges people are identifying, and what are the funding mechanisms that can support hat through a range of different options? Because the term 'base ground' was becoming very catch-all, and it really, really was clear in the submissions that the base grant, as a solution, was not in itself that the answer to many of the challenges that people have been raising through funding. So that is now sort of reflected a bit more in the areas that look at how we're going to change our funding systems to support the challenges and concerns that we have. And that will come throughout all of these pieces of work: The health priorities are funded, our institutions are supported, how we connect in with the work that the universities have access to PBRFs (Performance-Based Research Funds).
So there's a number of areas where people were suggesting options for a base grant, but the ideas were all quite different. So we're actually trying to pull back from there as a solution in itself, and look at a range of solutions.
Yeah, really good answer. Thank you. Next question. How will you plan - and this is kind of related back to the priorities question - how will you plan to engage in the priorities and reforms? Will just be through the MBIE channels? Many people within the RSI system are still not aware of these major reforms. And I'll start by saying, I think the team's done a really good job of trying to engage but we accept that it will still be missing people. There will be other, there'll be people in the sector who are very focused on bidding and just getting towards the end of the year and just doing the mahi. But we are looking at other channels outside our traditional MBIE channels to engage. And, we even yesterday with our reference group, we were talking about how that might be best achieved. I don't know if anybody else wants to add anything, be it Prue just in terms of...
...Just to reinforce what you said. We're not going to do this in isolation. It's not something that we're going to create within the walls of the MBIE and then toss it out to you. We really want to make sure that designing the priorities is done in conjunction with people who are going to use the priorities. So it's really keen that we get out and talk to some people. And it may be that this time we're talking to some different groups of people who perhaps don't engage with the science system as much as we think they should. And so there's an opportunity there for us as well.
Yeah, and I know through my own engagement with the New Zealand Association of Scientists, etcetera, that they've been thinking about this and I I'm members are working through Twitter to try and make sure that a lot of what we are putting out through our traditional channels is being lifted up and gathered together in a single place on Twitter, which has been a really useful resource from my perspective. If we've got the link, I'll try and get that put up at some point so that people can go out and look for that. Someone's doing some great work, and I would thank them on our behalf. So next question. The PBRF was mentioned in the white paper, which is managed by the TEC and the Ministry of Education. What conversations has MBIE been having with the TEC [and] Ministry of Education about reforming the research system in the universities? Anybody?
I'll go for that.
Yeah, Tara, cool.
Firstly, just to reassure you - and this is a really common question - we have very active working group discussions with TEC and with MoE. We're very closely engaged. We've been also keeping Minister Hipkins informed, and Minister Verrall and Minister Hipkins have been looking at the opportunity of the RSI reform to connect in with this work supported through Vote Education. So we are really closely engaged. We've been talking a great deal, we know that there are some changes that have been underway in the PBRF, and we're looking for opportunities to make sure the systems are really well aligned. And when there are opportunities to continue to review and look at PBRF, if that we'll be working alongside the teams there that have that remit. Of course, we talk very closely with the university sector as well and consider engagements with universities are really critical to our work and with researchers that are in those systems.
And so we want to continue to understand some of those challenges, some of those connections, and to continue to work with our Ministry and TEC colleagues as we work to coordinate and align these. So please be reassured that we are in active conversations and we're really aware of the way that we need to continue to work together.
Thanks, Tara. Next question. Willy-John, maybe you have a crack at this. How robust is the Te Ara Paerangi work plan to change in government? That's a curly one. What do you think?
Yeah, I'm not sure that is an easy one to answer. I think what we have really tried to do in making sure that we're working with people across the sector is to try and make the changes as national as possible, as broad as possible. So as part of this Te Ara Paerangi white pepper development, we've had a reference group with whom we've tested some of the ideas to make. And those people come from across the sector and probably represent a diverse range of views across the sector. So the way we've tried to ensure that it, that Te Ara Paerangi is going to land well and be as acceptable to everyone across the country is to keep on working with the sector and keep on testing the ideas.
So that group, the reference group, isn't the only point of contact we have. We are talking to everyone, and many of you here will have been included in that conversation, part of those conversation sessions. So I think something we're really tried to do is to make sure that this is not something that's sort of forced on everyone, [instead] that tries to work with the people who are going to be in the future science system. So you never know what's going to happen in the future, anywhere a big earthquake could come along. That really changes the way that we see priorities in our science system. So we can't control for those things, but we've tried our best to make this as approachable as possible.
I think that's a really good answer. I know from my perspective, it's another one of those questions that comes up often. And so it's very much at the forefront of our mind. Don't you reckon, Tara?
Yeah. And I think that, hopefully, and certainly the feedback we're hearing initially is that people do see ideas you've submitted, they do see that the White Paper reflects the discussion and the desires of what the sector has said and the challenges that you're facing. And so we believe that because it is broad and far reaching and ambitious and covers areas including particularly what our key priorities are for New Zealand and for New Zealand globally, that thus should have quite enduring ambitions that would cater to a range of different interests across the sector and across New Zealand and across political parties.
Thank you. To achieve a successful setup of National Science Priorities, could CRIs (Crown Research Institutions) or other institutions be merged together? Takers?
So I'll answer that one if you'd like. So, certainly, you turn a envisage a set of national priorities that will require people to work together from different disciplines and from different institutions. So I guess from our point of view, we're interested in how you can get those collaborations working effectively. And what's the best way to do that that doesn't necessarily require institutional reform to do that. It's more thinking about how can we get collaboration together. So we will, as the research priorities as we get a set, we'll be able to see just exactly what they are and then think about what we need to do to ensure we get the collaboration going forward.
Thank you. How is the difference between senior and early career researcher needs been addressed in the white paper? Is there any notes towards, are there any notes towards adding hooks to the funds to force an increase in career stability for more junior staff? Early in the career staff, I presume?
So I think that what we've done, we haven't given the detail yet. In the white paper, we've signalled some areas that we want to work on, including career development. And I think now the work begins on what that looks like. And we've certainly heard that issue come through in the consultation, so that's something we're very mindful of as we pick through what might be some really useful initiatives that would help to address that. So I think the detail is yet to come.
He's a timeline question that might be addressed in part in the timeline that's in the back of the white paper. But this person is concerned that significant funding streams, especially National Science Challenges, will come to an end in 2024. Could you please outline what the plan is to ensure continuity and avoid loss of capacity?
Yeah, so that's probably another one for me. So we're very mindful of that, which is why the timeline is what it is. That's why we've gone first on this national research priorities. And there's a number of reasons for going first on national research priorities, including having those clear goals, will help to kind of set and direct some of the initiatives we're working on, but it's also in recognition of the fact that we know that the National Science Challenges will be ending in the middle of 2024. So that's where that timelines say, as Tara has been outlining, working on those priorities on the process and what they are through next year will help us to line up, transition and give us a pathway forward for the capability and the things that have been developed out of National Science Challenges.
Can I just say, team, where're getting a fantastic number of questions through. Thank you so much. We're going to record them all. And we'll try and answer them, even if we can't do so today. In some other forum, they will be collected up and answered so thank you. Next question. The white paper makes references to digitisation data software capabilities and a wider range of skills and careers needed support a dynamic, diverse, responsive research system? What sort of ideas are coming through in this rather - crikey, it moved up - a rather broad area. Sorry. So that's, yeah. So what sorts of ideas are coming through in this broad area around digitisation data software capabilities and the wider range of skills? Sorry, my Teams moved.
Cool. So thank you for the question. That's quite a detailed question and, you're right, the white paper hasn't dropped down to that level of detail. But obviously, the whole kind of area of data is really important, which is why MBIE has a suite of investments in the data science area as part of our Strategic Science Investment Fund. And that's going to be important to us going forward. And so I think that's part of the whole kind of thinking that we're trying to do. And that fourth objective about building an agile system and thinking about infrastructure, thinking about data, how we, what we need to do to make sure that we're using it effectively, that we are curating and making available all those issues that come around with data from the public science system. And it's one important piece of work for us in the future.
Just thinking back to the question about support for early in their career scientists. We talked about the applied PhDs. Tara, did you want to say anything about that? Because that could be relevant.
Yeah, I guess one of the key areas of feedback that we heard through the green paper submissions was career pathways - and not just for early career researchers but mid-career researchers as well. So, and this is another conversation we're also working closely with the Ministry of Education on also, and we'll be engaging more with industry colleagues over the next few months as well. We are wanting to ensure that there are some more smoother opportunities to come in and out of industry and through into training and industry as well. That was a really key ask in our submissions, so we are hoping to look at some systems where we can trial some options for that to better support that.
Thank you. The white paper seems to suggest that Government would prefer to sit back and let businesses increase their funding for research, rather than any government increase increases. What plans are there to increase government funding as a proportion of total research funding. I'll have a crack at the beginning, even though I'm supposed to be the MC. I think, you know, those GDP figures, if we look at what we spend on R&D as a percentage of GDP, they are a combination of both government governed spend, as well as the private sector. And so we've got the R&D tax incentives, which are out there and making a real difference to the investment that business is putting into research and development, we can see that growth over time. Government's certainly not sitting on its hands in this space and are thinking about how they can do it. So the paper itself focuses a lot on the public good funding part of the system, but obviously they need to work together. And there will be part of the conversation going on. I don't know if anybody else wants to add anything in that space. No? Cool. What mechanisms will you put in place to effect other local and central government agencies to implement the new system?
So the other agencies, other government departments, and regional councils, all those parts, they're really key users of the research so we're wanting to make sure that they're well connected with the system in terms of setting national research priorities. And I talked a little bit about how we create impact. So making sure that they are also part of the system, as we discussed, about how we can get more impact going forward. So they are a key part of the system. And we have an active discussion with the other government departments at the moment in developing the white paper and we'll continue to have those active conversations with a wide range of government and local government users going forward.
Thanks, Prue. Again, thank you for all the questions. I mean, this level of engagement's bodes well, I think, for our process going forward. We're almost out of time. This is probably the last question. So, I'd like the crowd to answer, but I'm interested to hear what MBIE's thinking is and how these changes intercept with the global research system? How much of a constraint to the changes you've outlined do you think this might be? For example, around reward and recognition. I can envisage there could still be a risk of adverse behaviour by individuals focusing, for example, on publications track record, rather than on other more directly impactful actions. So Prue does a lot with the Global Research Council. It could be a good question to throw your way again, Prue. Sorry, you're doing the heavy lifting here, but...
That's fine. No, because it's a really good question and I think that's really important, because we're not the only country to identify these issues. Other countries, their government funding systems are also facing the similar things. We're all wanting to increase diversity and increase inclusivity into our system. And it is quite a worldwide trend, thinking about how our current system is really driving an academic focus. The focus on CVs, in terms of publications and those kind of things, and there's a worldwide trend away from it. As I've mentioned before, we've introduced the narrative CV. That's also being introduced in other countries by the government funding agencies as well. And we have a really strong network of people where we share these kinds of initiatives, because we're... If you're thinking about investment processes and you're thinking about the traditional kind of ways that we assess applications - with peer review, those kind of things - we all share the same kind of challenges and with those carrying out really good assessments within defined time periods. And if we were to move away from the system like that to whatever the future system, then we'd all move together on that to make sure that our systems are being used in a similar way around the world.
And that really helps with the way you collaborate with international colleagues in other countries. So it's really important that we all have similar systems and understand and are fair and transparent it all. Yeah, it's a good conversation that we're having globally.
Yeah, thanks, Prue. That question around the global research system and our connection to that - it is coming through a lot. And I think we already do, as a sector, connect really, really well. And our eyes on it, it's certainly part of the conversation. We've got a whole international team here making sure that it's part of the conversation. And I just want to thank you, as a sector, I think you do a wonderful job in that regard. So, you know, we can always do better, but I think we do a pretty cool job and remain connected. So, look, just thank you, everybody. Thank you for coming along today and for all your questions. We're really looking forward to working with you as we deliver this reform. And please keep up to date via our website.
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