Monday, June 24, 2024

Govt investment to unlock Māori and Pacific research talent

Research, Science and Innovation Minister, Ayesha Verrall, has announced a suite of new initiatives aimed at unlocking Māori and Pacific resources, talent and knowledge across the sector.

Two new funds – He tipu ka hua and He aka ka toro – set to open in April and July 2023 ­– will provide up to $10 million per year to Māori organisations to build Māori research capacity, capability and aspirations over the next five years, the Minister said.

“We know Māori and Pacific Peoples are underrepresented in our research workforce. We also know that diversity is vital for our science system to realise its full potential,” Dr Verrall said.

“By supporting Māori and Pacific Peoples, we lift outcomes for all New Zealanders and ensure we are ready to tackle the future.”

Dr Verrall also signalled the development of a fellowship programme for early-to-mid-career Māori and Pacific researchers called Ngā Puanga Pūtaiao, and an internship programme for Young Māori innovators, Te Ara Pōtiki. Full eligibility criteria for the two initiatives will be released in the first half of 2023, the Minister said.

“Translating research into something which has meaningful impact is a key priority for this Government. At the heart of that is people.”

Under Te Ara Pōtiki, interns will be placed at overseas start-ups for up to 12 months, beginning with a cohort at agritech start-ups in the US. The programme seeks to foster Māori innovation by partnering with organisations that have existing capability and connections in the space.

It’s expected that that Te Ara Pōtiki will support around 22 interns over five years through a combination of MBIE funding and partner contributions. It will open for applications later in 2023.

Ngā Puanga Pūtaiao is a short-term fellowship scheme designed to support early-to-mid-career Māori and Pacific researchers. The Minister says priority will be given to researchers in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The initiative will be administered by the Royal Society Te Apārangi.

MBIE is working with the Royal Society Te Apārangi to determine criteria and a timeline for delivering the fellowships, which will determine how many fellows can be chosen.

“Through Te Ara Paerangi – Future Pathways, the New Zealand Government has committed to building a future-focused research, science and innovation system that understands and responds to Te Tiriti obligations and opportunities, enables mātauranga Māori and gives life to the research aspirations of Māori and Pacific Peoples,” said Dr Verrall.

He tipu ka hua will provide up to $6 million per year for up to three Māori-led research programmes or platforms with terms of up to five years.

He aka ka toro will provide $4 million per annum to Māori organisations to determine how they want to develop their own internal capability and capacity to engage with the research, science and innovation system.

Full details and eligibility criteria for the Ngā Puanga Pūtaiao Fellowships and Te Ara Pōtiki Internships are currently in development however fellowship applications will support early-to-mid-career Māori and Pacific researchers, working primarily in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

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