12 May 2010

Rural science body approves of science funding targets

8:30 am on 12 May 2010

The Institute of Agricultural and Horticultural Science says the Government's new science funding targets the right areas to grow the country's economy.

The Government has announced new funding for science ahead of the Budget on 20 May, with the centrepiece a research and development grant scheme for businesses.

The Government has put aside $225 million of funding for new initiatives in the next four years, with a further $96 million to come from existing science funds.

The institute's president, Jon Hickford, says this will ensure that the country is backing winners, and keeping those industries already investing in science one step ahead of the rest.

He says this is proactive investment, to get good businesses going even better, rather than scattering money around hoping that something emerges.

Professor Hickford believes some of this funding will trickle down into the agricultural and horticutural industries.

He says that for the Government to give science given this sort of priority is remarkable, given the constraints on this year's Budget.

The funding, announced on Tuesday, replaces the previous-Labour government's research and development tax credit, scrapped when National came to power, which was worth $630 million over four years.