Released today is a call to enlist contributions to “identify the key scientific questions New Zealand needs to answer as part of developing the new $60 million National Science Challenges”. This call for submission is to start in November 2012.

The full press release is available on the Beehive[1] website. It goes on to say,

“As part of our engagement with the public, next month we will be launching a television and online advertising campaign inviting Kiwis to tell us what they believe New Zealand’s Science Challenges should be.

“Through the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment the Government will also be engaging directly with the broader science sector, research institutions, tertiary institutions and schools to get their feedback.

“This wide public discussion will help us identify the challenges, and at the same time increase the profile of science with the public and those considering a science career.”

They aim to draw the key topic in the first quarter of 2013, with Cabinet selecting from what is presented by a panel chaired by the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Adviser, Sir Peter Gluckman. The science sector is, apparently, to be approached directly by MBIE (the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment).

A television campaign is to be part of the program to call for submissions. Part of the aims for including calls from the public is to encourage greater engagement with science.

I emphasised Cabinet earlier. You might think that Cabinet are to essentially ‘rubber stamp’ was is recommended by the science advisory panel, but I note that the wording offered in the press release has them choosing from what is offered by the panel, a point re-enforced in the FAQ following the press release.[2]

Further details are available on the press release, particularly the FAQ on the latter part of that page, the National Science Challenges website and the National Science Challenges Cabinet paper[3] (PDF file). An on-line form has been set up so that people may register their interest.


1. For those from overseas, the New Zealand parliament building resembles a  beehive, hence the well-known nickname, used here on an official government web service. (Resembling one you might see in an illustration in Whinny-the-Pooh.)

2. I’m not trying to make a meal of this, but noting a nuance in the plans.

3. Strangely this still has ‘in confidence’ at the top of the document. (Don’t you love New Zealand parliament’s clumsy goofs?)

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Survey – communicating earthquake-related science

Career paths, redux – the academic research career is the exception

Putting government policy on trial

Living photographs

On vetting TED(x) events – a suggestion