Science system and university advisory groups announced

Out of focus aerial shot of a crowd of people walking in a city.

Two advisory groups are being established to explore what New Zealand’s science system and universities need to thrive now and into the future.

The Science System Advisory Group (SSAG), supported by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, has been established to provide advice on improving the effectiveness and impact of the science sector in New Zealand.

The University Advisory Group (UAG), supported by the Ministry of Education, has been set to provide the government with advice on New Zealand’s university system.

Both groups will be chaired by Professor Sir Peter Gluckman who will ensure connections between the two advisory groups as appropriate. Other panel members will be announced shortly.

Sir Peter says he is honoured the government has asked him to coordinate and chair the two panels.

“As a small, advanced economy, New Zealand must make strategic choices in investing in science, innovation and higher education and in ensuring partnerships both nationally and internationally.

“The last significant and comprehensive look at science system was in 1992 and since the University of New Zealand was disestablished in 1961, the system as a whole and its broad contributions have not been holistically considered.

“Once the panels are appointed, we will engage with science and the higher education sectors and a number of stakeholders to inform this process and ensure a fit-for-purpose science system and a robust and forward-thinking university system for New Zealand,” he says.

Read the Ministers’ media release

Science System Advisory Group

The SSAG will look into issues the sector faces, such as its effectiveness, inefficiencies and poor connections, as well as the aspirations of the sector and opportunities for growth.

Key topics the SSAG will focus on include:

  • the challenges and aspirations of the many components of the sector
  • its structure, productivity, efficiency and effectiveness
  • advanced tech and commercialisation
  • workforce and connectedness; and
  • the Government as a commissioner, funder, and user of science.

SSAG will deliver a report on the system in two parts, the first due end of June, and the second end of October. The first part will focus on determining the group’s principles, providing preliminary advice and recommendations that can be considered and actioned quickly. The second part will build on the first part’s advice and provide final recommendations on longer-term changes. Koi Tū: The Centre for Informed Futures will provide secretariat support, and the process is independent of the University of Auckland.

Read the SSAG’s Terms of Reference
Sign up for SSAG updates

University Advisory Group

The UAG will consider challenges and opportunities in the university sector including:

  • ensuring quality in research, teaching and knowledge transfer
  • delivering graduates that address national workforce needs and challenges
  • connections to wider New Zealand society through collaboration and partnerships
  • funding mechanisms and the role of the Performance Based Research Fund;
  • ways to best achieve equity for all learners; and
  • the role of international education.

The Group will provide an initial report to the Ministry of Education in August 2024 and a final report in February 2025. Advice from the Group will inform policy changes. The Ministry of Education and the Tertiary Education Commission will provide UAG secretariat support.

Read the UAG’s Terms of Reference
Sign up for UAG updates

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