Budget 2013: What’s in it for science?

Budget 2013 saw a net increase of around $50 million in science and innovation funding, according to Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce.

Screen Shot 2013-05-10 at 1.22.58 PM$130 million of funding has been committed to boosting R&D efforts in companies and start-ups, $107m of which will come from the Government’s internationally focused growth package, with $23m re-prioritised from elsewhere in the science and innovation vote.

Detail about the new grants scheme that will account for the new funding is detailed here.

Additionally, changes to tax rules were announced that would allow loss-making start-up companies investing heavily in research and development to take advantage of tax breaks. Eligibility criteria for the scheme will be released next month ahead of public consultation.

Previously announced and reallocated

Elsewhere, previously announced Budget allocations, such as the National Science Challenges which receive $73.5 million in funding over the next four years, and funding for newly-formed Callaghan Innovation account for the bulk of changes on the positive side of the ledger within the science and innovation vote. The Marsden Fund receives an increase in funding ($46.8 million to $51.8 million),

“Realising the benefits of innovation” receives a $17.5 million allocation, and is described as “activities that build the level of, and returns from, science and technology-driven innovation through providing tailored brokerage and access to advice, technical services and facilities, and creating linkages, projects and collaborations between business and industry and Research Science and Technology providers”. Allocations for the KAREN advanced network ($4 million) and New Zealand access to the Australian Synchrotron $7.5 million) are also included.

Decreases in allocations include “high value manufacturing”, which reduces from $187.5 million to $61.1 million year on year, Fellowships for Excellence ($13.4 million to $8.6 million) and Crown Research Institute core funding ($215.5 million to $201.6 million).

The SMC is gathering reaction to the Budget science and innovation allocations and will publish comments received here on the SMC website.

A fantastic data visualisation tool that lets users explore in-depth changes to the budget over time has been created by ChewyData’s Keith Ng.

UPDATED: Prof Shaun Hendy, President of the New Zealand Association of Scientists, comments:

“This is a pretty neutral budget for science, with an increase in spending that is slightly ahead of inflation. A focus on improving business R&D support is good to see — we need some imagination here, because our businesses spend considerably less on research and development than their counterparts in other advanced economies.

“One big caveat: although I am pleased to see an increase in the Marsden fund, this is still considerably down on the level of support it enjoyed a few years ago, especially once you take inflation into account. Basic science is something that really struggles in New Zealand and there are many excellent projects that will go unfunded this year.

“So overall, not a bad budget for science, but the sector needs a series of very good budgets if we are to catch up with the rest of the world in science and technology. Increases like those we have seen over the last few years really just see us standing still in this increasingly competitive world economy.”

Vote Science and Innovation appropriation estimates for 2013-14 are outlined here

Departmental appropriations consisting of:

• just under $30 million for advice and support to shape the science and innovation system, including policy advice, public consultation and engagement on National Science Challenges, contract management and strategic leadership in the Science and Innovation sector.

Non-departmental appropriations consisting of:

• under $202 million for Crown Research Institutes (CRI’s) to provide greater financial certainty to deliver outcomes for the benefit of New Zealand and to assist the CRI’s to contribute to the outcomes in their statement of core purpose

• just over $303 million for research and research applications in the areas of high value manufacturing and services, biological industries, health and society, environmental, hazards and infrastructure and energy and minerals

• under $145 million for Research and Development Growth Grants multi-year appropriation (MYA), Targeted Business Research and Development Funding MYA, and Repayable Grants for Start-Ups

• just over $42 million for National Science Challenges to fund specific research projects in seeking answers to the most pressing issues of national significance facing New Zealand

• under $19 million for services by the Crown entity Callaghan Innovation for development and maintenance of strategic capabilities required to meet immediate and future needs of business and industry

• under $52 million for the Marsden Fund for excellent fundamental research

• under $9 million for fellowships and grants to support the development of future research leaders

• under $13 million for contract management services with regard to research, science and technology contract with organisations or individuals

• just under $9 million for engaging New Zealanders with science and technology

• just over $16 million for the advice, brokerage and networking services provided by Callaghan


• over $6 million for Research Contract Management

• under $6 million for providing specified standards to meet the needs for traceable physical measurements in New Zealand, and

• under $7 million for the development of skilled people and organisations undertaking research that supports the four themes of Vision M?tauranga.

Non-departmental other expenses consisting of:

• under $38 million for grants to organisations in New Zealand and overseas which ensures infrastructures and projects that have system-wide benefits or are too large for any one institution to fund, but are of benefit to New Zealand, can take place, and

• a total of $135,000 for membership to the Convention du Metre.

Non-departmental capital expenditure consisting of:

• just under $32 million to support the establishment and development of an advanced technology institute as the Crown entity Callaghan Innovation.

Departmental capital expenditure: please note that as a result of the formation of Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment all departmental capital expenditure is now under Vote Economic Development.