A report has recommended the Government change the way it funds Crown Research Institutes (CRI) so they can do more research which is in the national interest.
The” Crown Research Institute Taskforce says the institutes should be allocated much more money on a long-term basis rather than competing for short term contracts.
It says the competitive model used for the institutes, which means they vie for funding, creates uncertainty and makes them vulnerable as businesses.
The taskforce also says the current ownership structure of the CRIs places more emphasis on their own business performance rather than on doing research which contributes to the wellbeing of the country.
The report concludes;
“We believe that existing funding and governance arrangements for CRIs inhibit collaboration, position natural partners such as universities and firms as competitors, and interfere with CRIs’ adoption of best-practice research management. Governance and institutional arrangements can be considerably simplified so that CRIs have a stronger sense of purpose and direction.”
The taskforce recommends strengthening opportunities for universities and other organisations to collaborate with CRIs, to contribute to national challenges.
Scientific bodies and CRIs have been largely supportive of the recommendations. The chairman of Science New Zealand and CEO of NIWA,” Mr John Morgan, says the CRI Taskforce has done a great job in identifying the issues and solutions, and has provided the Government with a sound and constructive path forward.
TEU national president Dr Tom Ryan says the review makes important recommendations around providing greater certainty of funding for research.
“We support the taskforce view that there needs to be more government investment in research, and that it should focus on contributing to the wellbeing of the country rather than achieving business performance indicators,” said Dr Ryan.