In August 2012, the New Zealand Government agreed to the creation of the National Science Challenges. The Challenges are a set of mission-led science investments that will help to address some of the most fundamental issues New Zealand faces for its future development. The process of identifying the Challenges involved significant public engagement and recommendations by an independent National Science Challenges Panel. The NSC funding is to fund research, science, or technology, or related activities that have the potential to:
- respond to the most important, national-scale issues and opportunities identified by science stakeholders and the New Zealand public
- promote collaboration across a number of research providers and involve a broad portfolio of multi-disciplinary research activity
- enable government to take a more long-term strategic approach to managing and coordinating mission-led science investments.
The NSCs will involve greater alignment and co-ordination of research to generate greater impact and value from the government’s science investment. Public outreach, communication, and education are important aspects of the NSCs. Public awareness as each Challenge proceeds will help to increase understanding of how science contributes to New Zealand’s well-being and will encourage a more scientific approach to tackling the challenges facing us. The NSCs will also help lift the profile of science and other disciplines among young people and may encourage them into science- and technology-based careers.
The ten National Science Challenges are:
- Ageing well – harnessing science to sustain health and wellbeing into the later years of life
- A better start – improving the potential of young New Zealanders to have a healthy and successful life
- Healthier lives – research to reduce the burden of major New Zealand health problems
- High value nutrition – developing high value foods with validated health benefits (for export use)
- Science for technological innovation – enhancing the capacity of New Zealand to use physical and engineering sciences for economic growth
- Our land and water – Research to enhance primary sector production and productivity while maintaining and improving our land and water quality for future generations
- New Zealand’s biological heritage – protecting and managing our biodiversity, improving our biosecurity, and enhancing our resilience to harmful organisms
- Life in a changing ocean – understanding how we can exploit our marine resources within environmental and biological constraints
- The deep south – understanding the role of the Antarctic and the Southern Ocean in determining our climate and our future environment
- Resilience to nature’s challenges – research into enhancing our resilience to natural disasters
For the following Challenges:
- Resilience to Nature’s Challenges (Kia Manawaroa – Ngā Ākina o Te Ao Tūroa)
- High-Value Nutrition (Ko Ngā Kai Whai Painga)
- The Deep South (Te Kōmata o Te Tonga)
the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has invited proposals.
Overseas organisations may take part in a Challenge collaboration. A Challenge collaboration may include the use of international research capability and infrastructure facilities if not available in New Zealand. However, MBIE expects that the majority of research will be carried out in New Zealand unless there are compelling reasons otherwise.