MSI: Breaking down the numbers on science funding

A) Vote appropriations

The Vote Appropriation this year is $5 million higher than last year, as calculated by comparing the appropriation figures for Budget 2010 ($768.2 million) and Budget 2011 ($773.8).

Investment funds across the Vote have remained stable; there has been no net decrease to investment funds other than changes signalled in previous budgets. All current investment contracts are unaffected.

There has been, however, some reprioritisation of funding across the Vote.

The $10m drop reported by some media is for MSI departmental funding, and does not affect science investment funds.

Core funding for CRIs

Core funding has been established for CRIs this year. Core funding for CRIs will give CRIs more time and flexibility to plan nationally-important research programmes, leading to greater-value science investments for New Zealand.

Core funding consolidates CRI capability funding and some CRI-held contracts in areas such as the biological industries, environment and hazards and infrastructure.

Collectively the CRIs will receive $215 million (excl GST) in core funding-more than was available through CRI capability funding.

The shift of some funds into CRI core funding may have led to the misunderstanding that these funds have been decreased.

B) Biological industries funding

Funding for the biological industries has been moved into CRI core funding; it has not been decreased.

C) Infrastructure funding

There are three different types of support for science infrastructure across the Vote; Specific infrastructure initiatives; Hazards and Infrastructure; Science Collections and Infrastructure.

Infrastructure funding has remained unchanged, other than changes made in previous budgets.

Specific infrastructure initiatives:

Cabinet decide on the particular profile of each of the following initiatives. Profiles reflect each initiative’s likely needs, the ‘front-loading’ of funds, funds that are time-limited and other funds that track up and down over the lifespan of the funding.

The KAREN support was a one-off from Budget 2010 that subsequently does not appear in the Budget 2011 appropriation. However, in December 2010, Cabinet approved funding of $4 million p.a. from 2013 onwards, to enable KAREN to (among other things) underpin the New Zealand e-Science Infrastructure investment.

Genomics infrastructure: There was approximately $40 million in funding over a nine year period awarded in 2008 (and announced in Budget 2009). There has been no change in this funding for genomics infrastructure in Budget 2011.

The Budget 2010 appropriation for genomics infrastructure was $4.2 million but with the inclusion of $12 million carried forward from 2009/10 this became $16.2 million as identified within Supplementary Estimates for 2010/2011. $5.6 million is appropriated in Budget 2011 in line with the original funding decision.

The NZ e-Science Infrastructure is a new investment approved in Budget 2010. It will provide access to high performance computing for the research sector and has been funded $5.9m in the first year and $7.2m p.a. thereafter (to be reviewed in year four). It is being led by the University of Auckland.

ii) Hazards and Infrastructure:

$12 million in funding over five years has been reprioritised from other parts of the Vote into natural hazards and infrastructure funding. This means an increase for earthquake research.

iii) Science Collections and Infrastructure

The bulk of funding from this area has been shifted into CRI core funding.

The $4.7m left in the ‘Science collections and infrastructure’ output expense is for the remaining databases that are not cared for by CRIs, as well as support for the Tangaroa research vessels.