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Brian Fallow: Focus on better use of less research

Posted in Reflections On Science on November 11th, 2010.

Brian Fallow writes in the New Zealand Herald about the suggestions of the 2025 Taskforce, one of which is there should be no further increases in the amount of public funding allocated to research and development.

NZ already spends less as relative to the size of our economy than many other OECD countries, and the proposal, if adopted, means that this proportion will fall further.

An excerpt: (read in full here)

“This unfashionable position is no doubt born partly of taskforce members’ overarching view that making the economic boat go fast enough to catch the Aussies will require jettisoning a lot of public spending, and its associated tax burden.

“They also advocate increased private provision of health and education, for similar reasons.

“Nevertheless it seems odd to target research and development spending when it is already famously low in New Zealand.

“It is about half the OECD average relative to the size of the economy, a third of what countries such as Japan, Sweden and Finland manage, and the lion’s share of it is undertaken by the public sector.”

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