A positive from the Job Summit

By Aaron Small 22/07/2009

I was about to post a few months ago about the cut to $98 Million of postgraduate scholarships in the budget, but the moment seems to have passed. I was amazed with the lack of foresight by the Government – what better way to come out of a recession than to up skill and come out hitting the ground running, but they chose instead to stunt the development of NZ’s next generation of young scientists by cutting funding in this area.
But here’s one positive that’s come out of the Job Summit a few months back. I haven’t heard of many, but I am pleased about this one. It goes some of the way to making up for the loss of the said $98 Million dollars worth of cuts to scholarships.
The Foundation for Research Science and Technology (FRST) has announced a pilot scheme that will see 150 new internships created in industry, with the FRST providing salary contribution of up to $30,000 for a period of 9 months.
This is a great way to encourage industry to innovate and build linkages with universities. I think this is crucial in the development of NZ’s knowledge economy, and the success of the model is evidenced by the emergence of the Finnish powerhouse, Nokia, out of a successful network of inventors who were trained in Finland’s own university system and had strong linkages with industry.

If you are in business, I would love to hear your thoughts on this new initiative. What is your R&D capability currently like, and would you be willing to take on a young science and technology graduate if their salary was met halfway by the Government?