Te Ara Paerangi - Future Pathways

Te Ara Paerangi Future Pathways is a multi-year programme focused on the future of New Zealand’s research system. The programme seeks to start an open and wide-ranging conversation on a range of issues facing the research system, how these issues might be addressed, and how to take advantage of emerging opportunities.

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We have begun a consultation on the Te Ara Paerangi Future Pathways Green Paper.

Have your say: Future Pathways

The Green Paper seeks to start an open and wide-ranging conversation on a range of issues facing the research, science and innovation system. 

This consultation period is the start of a multi-year discussion.

Any changes that are suggested through the consultation process will need further consideration, consultation and development over 2022 and make take some time to implement.

We anticipate many further opportunities over 2022 for people to engage in the Future Pathways programme as the ideas are further developed and refined.

Case for change

New Zealand’s research system was designed nearly 30 years ago, and some parts of the system are not working as well as they should be.

Recent reports make a compelling case for change and present various recommendations for a future state.

Te Pae Kahurangi: Positioning Crown Research Institutes to collectively and respectively meet New Zealand’s current and future needs [PDF, 6.8 MB]

New Zealand Firms: Reaching for the frontier [PDF, 5.4 MB](external link) – New Zealand Productivity Commission.

In addition, throughout 2018 and 2019, we consulted extensively on a new RSI strategy, the development of which was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Have your say: RSI strategy

Consultation revealed strong views that the current research system suffers from weak connectivity. Researchers found it challenging to connect with researchers from different organisations; research organisations found it hard to connect with each other; businesses found it challenging to engage productively with the public research sector; and data showed that the RSI system continues to struggle to connect effectively internationally. This is similar to feedback received during engagement on the Health Research Strategy in 2017.

Additionally, responsiveness to Māori was noted to be weak and models of engagement poor. Stakeholders noted much work needed to be done to improve the way the system interacts with Māori at multiple levels.

The 2020 Te Pae Kahurangi review echoed many themes from the RSI strategy consultation.

It found a lack of role clarity exists for institutions, unproductive competition occurs between institutions and integration is lacking between universities, CRIs and other parts of the research system. It repeated findings from the RSI strategy about the system’s weak responsiveness to Māori.

Te Pae Kahurangi also noted difficulties the research system has in adapting to changing national needs and building capabilities necessary for future resilience and transformation. It found a proliferation of governance and a large number of competing strategies and priorities, which struggle to be given effect.

Areas of focus

The Future Pathways programme looks to better understand and resolve these issues and create a research, science and innovation system that continues to be critical to New Zealand’s success.

We have framed potential responses through 6 main areas:

  1. Exploring the role that whole-of-system priorities could play in focusing research activities and concentrating resources towards achieving national goals.
  2. Exploring how the research system can best honour Te Tiriti obligations and opportunities, give life to Māori research aspirations and enable mātauranga Māori.
  3. Exploring potential ways to reshape the RSI funding system for the future. It covers how funding can be used to give effect to national priorities, reduce unproductive competition, and ensure our institutions can respond to emerging opportunities.
  4. Re-examining how we design and shape public research institutions (focussing onCRIs and Callaghan) to enable them to give effect to national priorities, encourage greater connectivity, and be adaptable in a fast changing world.
  5. Exploring how we best develop our workforce, ensure the RSI workforce is connected, diverse and dynamic and they are offered attractive and flexible careers and career pathways.
  6. Exploring effective funding, governance and ownership arrangements for national research infrastructures and how we should support sustainable, efficient and enabling investment in research infrastructure.

Your views are vital

The Te Ara Paerangi – Future Pathways Green Paper seeks to start an open, deliberative and wide-ranging discussion on the future of New Zealand’s public research system. 

The Programme seeks to draw on the collective wisdom, experience and inspiration of our researchers and research users. We need to gather a broad base of views on the performance of the current system to better understand the issues it faces and the opportunities for the future.

We are not pre-committed to any solutions – this process will help to shape the issues, challenge the assumptions we’ve made, and help create solutions that we can all get behind.

We are creating opportunities for broad stakeholder engagement and provide meaningful opportunities for Māori participation, as Te Tiriti partners, to ensure that all views are considered and that the implications of any potential system changes are fully understood. More information on what is coming up can be found on the ‘Have Your Say’ page.

For New Zealand’s ongoing success, prosperity, and well-being, it’s essential that we get this right.

Last reviewed: 28 October 2021