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NZTech calls for impartial tech research funding

NZTech has joined forces with IITP and other industry bodies to prepare a combined submission to the review of the Marsden Fund with recommendations on how to increase tech research funding.

The Marsden Fund is the major avenue for University oriented research funding in New Zealand. Last year, there were 92 grants totalling $53.6m but only three of these ($1.2m) were computer science related.

The joint submission raises concerns of an apparent bias within New Zealand’s major research fund that over time has led to under investment in tech research. The submission, co-ordinated by IITP and backed by NZTech, NZRise, InternetNZ and others, provides evidence showing that just 17% of funding approvals goes to tech related research, compared with over 50% in Australia. On average, funding is provided for 1.5 research projects a year in tech, compared to an annual average of 46.5 in Australia by its equivalency, the Discovery Fund.

The submission suggests that the bias is probably due to the structure of the fund, which combines maths with tech related areas. Whilst the bias in outcomes is not necessarily deliberate, the panel is made up primarily of mathematicians who may not be able to best assess the quality of tech research applications. As a result, the tech research community is missing out on tens of millions of research dollars.

The joint industry submission calls for the Maths and Information Sciences (MIS) panel to be split into two panels, one focusing specifically on tech related research and the other on maths.

Read the full submission here.

NZTech We connect, promote and advance the New Zealand Technology ecosystem to help the tech sector and the economy grow.