Science funding grows

May 2nd, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The Government has announced a multimillion dollar investment into and innovation to help combat the biggest challenges facing New Zealand.

At the Auckland War Memorial Museum today Prime Minister John Key announced an extra $73.5 million in funding for the science and innovation sector.

It brought the total funding to $133.5m over four years for Budget 2013.

Key said the funding put science at the heart of much of the Government’s thinking.

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce said the funding would go towards 10 “challenges” that scientist could tackle.

These included research around helping New Zealanders’ health at the beginning and end of their lives, research into natural disasters, helping promote and protect the country’s biodiversity including its marine reserve, and the southern ocean.

The advisory panel, led by chief science advisor Sir Peter Gluckman, received 200 submissions on the challenges.

Joyce said not all challenges would be solved overnight but some had refined research areas.

I quite like the idea of funding for some specific challenges or goals.

It appears the Government is on track to be back into surplus for 2014/15. They have stopped the previous runaway growth in spending across the board – but allowed some increases in a few key areas such as science, tourism and hospitals.

The 10 national science challenges announced today 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;

+ New Zealand’s biological heritage – protecting and managing our biodiversity, improving our biosecurity, and enhancing our resilience to harmful organisms;

+ Our land and water – research to enhance primary-sector production and productivity while maintaining and improving our land and water quality for future generations;

+ 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;

+ Science for technological innovation – enhancing the capacity of New Zealand to use physical and engineering sciences for economic growth;

+ Resilience to nature’s challenges – research into enhancing our resilience to natural disasters.

 

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19 Responses to “Science funding grows”

  1. Kea (12,841 comments) says:

    I am all for increased funding for science, just as long as it is not abused for political gain like the “climate change” gravy train.

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  2. Griff (7,791 comments) says:

    + The deep south – understanding the role of the Antarctic and the Southern Ocean in determining our climate and our future environment;

    Because this will effect us.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2013/04/ice-hockey/#more-15171

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  3. wreck1080 (3,922 comments) says:

    You have to say, no matter how frustrating national can be (to me at least) , they are sorting the economy.

    Pity helen couldn’t have paid of the national debt when if office instead of buying trains and giving free money to students.

    I really detest that woman (although I wouldn’t dance in the street when she dies).

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  4. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    Good initiative. However we need more scientisis… and our universities seem to be skewed towards generating arts graduates. Arts degrees are typically easier to get than science degrees so students who are still deciding on a career path (i know, they should have worked this out prior) opt for the path of least resistance.

    I agree with Kea. There has been a trend for contestable funding of science to lead to confirmation bias, so rather than searching for truth, evidence to back a theory is sought, and contrary evidence is dismissed in pursuit of liberating more funding. How many hundreds of billions of dollars have been wasted on Climate Change? Too many, and all due to confirmation bias supported funding mechanisms.

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  5. Kea (12,841 comments) says:

    I think tax payer funding should only be provided for those things which may give a solid economic return to NZ.

    Some of the “challenges” listed have potential to be hijacked by those with other agendas. We already have a glut of organisations demanding we stop using natural resources and providing studies to show man is evil and modern industrial society must end, along with capitalism.

    What we do not have enough of are scientists working to find more and better ways to untilise our bountiful natural resources to best effect. Creating national parks, marine reserves and protecting dolphins is not science or development.

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  6. Jimbob (641 comments) says:

    The extra funding is really pathetic. Science has always been the future, and all Governments have under performed in this area. Contestable funding is just crazy, half the money goes down the toilet before a scientist or technician sees a cent. It all started back with Simon Upton in the early 1990’s, and scientific research has suffered ever since. We are getting no where fast in this area, please get back to basics and fund scientists to do research and not bureaucrats to grow fat.

    [DPF: Vote Science before this announcement was $833m, up from $730m in 2008]

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  7. Griff (7,791 comments) says:

    Scientific method
    “a method or procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses.”

    Read Eric on his and another paper for an idea of how science works.

    He openly admits that he can not rule out similar spikes entirely with his research and points to a paper that has a more definite answer .

    The climate of this region is of interest to NZ. South westerly is a dominant weather feature for us. The changing SST patterns and currents in the sea around us have to be studied for evaluation of its impact as well.

    Insinuating of academic wrong doing smears many facets of science.

    As in the authorship of the paper posted yesterday.

    From some 20 universities,NGO and Private research institutes.

    Included physics geology biology mathematics all at the trough doing false science for money at the behest of greedy university’s and governments who just see it as another tax. This massive fraud on a global scale involving all major scientific bodies major governments and international organizations was organized by who? how do they indoctrinate the young geeks into this massive conspicy to hoodwink the world ?

    Sorry guys the world is not really about your unsupported insinuation of scientific wrong doing.

    Reality is the greenhouse effect has been studied for over one hundred years.

    The logical conclusion of this theory says if you increase co2 you increase temperature .

    As we have progressed science so have we progressed our understanding of the world around us and our ability to quantify its parameters with ever greater resolution and accuracy.

    Theory of warming lead to research on the actual state of our climate, research into its past and by modelling its future.

    This research confirmed and continues to confirm the rising heat due to co 2 from sequestered carbon released by us into our atmosphere

    Mindless rejection of all evidence from establish authority and unproven conspicy as a belief system to attack science is only going to damage society.

    Unfortunately this seems to be the majority stance on kb You bemoan the impact of the “Luddite Marxist” greens yet denigrate the input of science. Not all people are so easily swayed by the propaganda you base your belief in. Educated liberals are far more numerous then the grumpy old men who inhabit KB.

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  8. Kea (12,841 comments) says:

    Jimbob, if the billions poured into promoting environmental activism, disguised as science, had been spent on real science and technology, we would all be better off. So would the environment for that matter.

    There are people out there who will not be happy until we are sitting around in mud huts burning cow shit to keep warm.

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  9. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    @Griff, not grumpy – laughing. Tell us how your carbon markets are going. Or what alternative energy sources have done for electricity prices and stability?

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  10. Griff (7,791 comments) says:

    Hydro is green renewable so maybe you can answer that.

    Its the governments carbon market and as you know its kaput.

    Cheap co2 credits from the ex ussr

    This proves any thing but the reality of the failure of Kyoto and the inability for anyone to actually do anything?

    AGW is not going away and watching the usa cope with ongoing drought this year will be amusing to say the lest.

    400ppm this week. No choice now we will exceed the targeted maximum of 2c by 2100.

    Kids born today will grow up in a radically altered environment .

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  11. Kea (12,841 comments) says:

    @Griff, not grumpy – laughing. Tell us how your carbon markets are going. Or what alternative energy sources have done for electricity prices and stability?

    Alan Wilkinson, allow me.

    1. Carbon markets have been very kind to Al Gore, who may be the worlds first Carbon credit billionaire through his carbon trading company.

    2. Alternative energy has cost money and lives. Efficient forms of energy production have been marginalised by punitive taxes, while inefficient and expensive alternative pipe dreams get billions in subsidies. People can not afford to heat their homes and are dying. This is especially bad in the Northern Hemisphere, where increasingly freezing winters are killing hundreds, while they can not afford electricity …. because of warming !

    Countless numbers have starved as land previously used for food is now growing crops for alternative fuels. This has pushed the price of food up. (Never mind it takes more energy than it produces.)

    Millions of hectares of forest are being cleared and burnt to plant alternative fuel crops.

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  12. Kea (12,841 comments) says:

    “AGW is not going away and watching the usa cope with ongoing drought this year will be amusing to say the lest.”

    1. AGW is not here yet.

    2. The historic drought that blazed across America’s corn belt last year was not caused by climate change, a federal government study found.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/apr/12/climate-change-not-2012-drought

    Last Year’s U.S. Drought Wasn’t Caused by Climate Change
    Those advocating limits on greenhouse gases can’t count on the weather to make their argument.

    http://www.technologyreview.com/view/513646/last-years-us-drought-wasnt-caused-by-climate-change/

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  13. Griff (7,791 comments) says:

    Another funny story from the terminally unformed kea aka squawk.

    I see your unsubstantiated billions of green subsidies and rise you one point nine trillion 2.5 percent of global GDP for oil coal and gas subsidies as per the IMF.

    http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/survey/so/2013/INT032713A.htm

    IMF on carbon based energy subsidies.

    New IMF paper urges governments the world over to reform subsidies affecting products ranging from coal to gasoline.

    Based on a new database for 176 countries, we estimate that subsidies in 2011 amounted to $1.9 trillion, the equivalent of about 2½ percent of world GDP, or 8 percent of all government revenues.

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  14. Kea (12,841 comments) says:

    Griff go away. This is a science talk.

    Go watch TV. You can see a weatherman there making laughably inaccurate predictions based on models.

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  15. Griff (7,791 comments) says:

    Friday 14 September 2012
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/sep/14/arctic-sea-ice-harsh-winter-europe
    The record loss of Arctic sea ice this summer may mean a cold winter and spring for the UK and northern Europe. The region has been prone to bad winters after summers with very low sea ice, such as 2011 and 2007, said Jennifer Francis, a researcher at Rutgers University.

    Monday 25 March 2013
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/mar/25/frozen-spring-arctic-sea-ice-loss
    Climate scientists have linked the massive snowstorms and bitter spring weather now being experienced across Britain and large parts of Europe and North America to the dramatic loss of Arctic sea ice.

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  16. Kea (12,841 comments) says:

    When science is corrupted… starvation and massive environmental destruction

    Brazil now ranks fourth in the world in carbon emissions, and most of its emissions come from deforestation.

    Propelled by mounting anxieties over soaring oil costs and climate change, biofuels have become the vanguard of the green-tech revolution, the trendy way for politicians and corporations to show they’re serious about finding alternative sources of energy and in the process slowing global warming. . The U.S. quintupled its production of ethanol–ethyl alcohol, a fuel distilled from plant matter–in the past decade, and Washington has just mandated another fivefold increase in renewable fuels over the next decade. Europe has similarly aggressive biofuel mandates and subsidies, and Brazil’s filling stations no longer even offer plain gasoline. Worldwide investment in biofuels rose from $5 billion in 1995 to $38 billion in 2005 and is expected to top $100 billion by 2010, thanks to investors like Richard Branson and George Soros, GE and BP, Ford and Shell, Cargill and the Carlyle Group. Renewable fuels has become one of those motherhood-and-apple-pie catchphrases, as unobjectionable as the troops or the middle class.

    But several new studies show the biofuel boom is doing exactly the opposite of what its proponents intended: it’s dramatically accelerating global warming, imperiling the planet in the name of saving it. Corn ethanol, always environmentally suspect, turns out to be environmentally disastrous. Even cellulosic ethanol made from switchgrass, which has been promoted by eco-activists and eco-investors as well as by President Bush as the fuel of the future, looks less green than oil-derived gasoline.

    Meanwhile, by diverting grain and oilseed crops from dinner plates to fuel tanks, biofuels are jacking up world food prices and endangering the hungry. The grain it takes to fill an SUV tank with ethanol could feed a person for a year. Harvests are being plucked to fuel our cars instead of ourselves. The U.N.’s World Food Program says it needs $500 million in additional funding and supplies, calling the rising costs for food nothing less than a global emergency. Soaring corn prices have sparked tortilla riots in Mexico City, and skyrocketing flour prices have destabilized Pakistan, which wasn’t exactly tranquil when flour was affordable.

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1725975,00.html

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  17. Kea (12,841 comments) says:

    Climate scientists have linked the massive snowstorms and bitter spring weather now being experienced across Britain and large parts of Europe and North America to the dramatic loss of Arctic sea ice.

    Antarctic Sea Ice Sets Another Record

    Antarctic sea ice set another record this past week, with the most amount of ice ever recorded on day 256 of the calendar year (September 12 of this leap year).

    Record Sea Ice In The Baltic 2013 (Now)

    “Since record keeping began in the sixties, we’ve never encountered anything like this before,” ice breaker Ulf Gulldne told the local newspaper Örnsköldsviks Allehanda.

    On March 29th, 176,000 square kilometers of the Baltic Sea was covered in ice, a record for the time of year. On a map, it means about half of the central and northern parts are frozen over. Far north, the ice is both thick and difficult to break through.

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  18. nasska (11,575 comments) says:

    Seems about right. :)

    Ref: https://www.dropbox.com/s/nnv5vukxivlut6h/energy.jpg

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  19. Griff (7,791 comments) says:

    Thursday, Mar. 27, 2008
    History kea you will not get any argument from me over subsidizing industry as rampant stupidity.
    The usa gives billions to the corn industry. USA and crony capitalism .

    The top 10 per cent of farmers collected 74 per cent of all subsidies between 1995 and 2010, according to the Environmental Working Group, a research organisation, amounting to nearly $166bn. The bottom 80 per cent of recipients collected an average of $587 per year, while 62 per cent of US farmers did not receive any subsidies.

    See what happens when you let green idiots own the debate over global warming you get stupid policy.

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