7 Feb 2013

Panel tasked with solving science challenges

7:31 pm on 7 February 2013

The Prime Minister's Chief Science Advisor, Sir Peter Gluckman, says the new project to confront New Zealand's greatest scientific challenges is an opportunity to engage the public with science sector.

The eleven person National Science Challenge Panel, announced on Thursday, will spend the next month considering public submissions on the biggest scientific issues facing the country.

Sir Peter will chair the panel and says it's democracy in action.

He says the project will create greater collaboration between different areas of science.

Science Minister Steven Joyce says the Government plans to spend $60 million on addressing major science issues and has called for submissions on what they should be.

The panel includes cancer researcher Professor William Denny, agribusiness professor Jacqueline Rowarth and Otago University professor Richie Poulton.

Mr Joyce says the panel will meet later in February and the Government hopes to make decisions on the challenges to be addressed in April.

New Zealand Association of Scientists president Shaun Hendy says it is an opportunity to address the country's most difficult scientific challenges, but believes $60 million is not enough and the Government will have to invest more in the future.