Innovation has become a major touchstone for policymakers and scientists as New Zealand makes changes to some of its state science infrastructure to better support research and development – including restructuring Industrial Research Ltd (IRL) into the nation’s biggest platform for industry, to be called Advanced Technology.
The Prime Minister’s chief science adviser, Sir Peter Gluckman, says a smart nation must have a sufficiency of ideas flowing, an ecosystem that allows the market and the scientist to get close together, and a culture that accepts risk.
So what should be the relationship between science and policy decision-making?
How do nations make decisions to invest in science and technology – and how are citizens involved? What are the successful ingredients of an economy and society that fosters innovation. What are the implications of the current economic climate on research and innovation funding and how do countries turn downturns and adversity into opportunities when it comes to transforming their economies using innovation? What can New Zealand learn from the hotspots of innovation and research in Europe and Asia and how does our nation compare in the international innovation stakes?
These questions and more are covered in a Science Media Centre briefing with Professor Helga Nowotny — who is overseeing the spending 7 billion euros on EU scientists between 2007 and 2013 — as well as a leading local academic who has laid out a pathway for NZ in his Powering Innovation report , and an IRL researcher with insight into the relationships between innovation and economics. Professor Nowotny is visiting New Zealand as a key speaker at the inaugural Asia Pacific Science Policy Studies Research Conference.
Professor Helga Nowotny: President of the European Research Council and Professor emerita of Social Studies of Science, ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology).
Professor John Raine: Pro Vice-Chancellor, Innovation and Enterprise, AUT University and co-author of the report Powering Innovation.
Dr Dion O’Neale: Research scientist in Applied Mathematics at Industrial Research Limited. Dr O’Neale’s research interests include the use of complex systems to explain the relationship between phenomena in innovation and economics.