Professor welcomes National Science Challenge boost

Victoria University of Wellington's Professor Sally Davenport, Director of the Science for Technological Innovation (SfTI) National Science Challenge, has welcomed a $72.7 million funding boost the Challenge has received from the Government.

The money is part of a $422.5 million package to fund all 11 National Science Challenges over the next five years.

The Challenges were established in 2014 to tackle the biggest science-based issues and opportunities facing New Zealand by bringing together the country’s top scientists to work collaboratively across disciplines and institutions.

Professor Davenport, from Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Management, says of the SfTI boost: “Throughout the first tranche of the programme, much has been achieved by more than 285 SfTI researchers from 36 organisations, including Victoria University of Wellington.

“There are projects such as needle-free injections for diabetes patients and precision farming for aquaculture projects, which, we hope, will see robotics and sensors being used to monitor mussel farms.

“This further Government support will allow us to advance the development of many new hi-tech projects, with our SfTI science community continuing to discover smarter ways to work to maximise the benefits of hi-tech research for New Zealand.”

SfTI is hosted by Callaghan Innovation, with Victoria University of Wellington one of its collaboration partners. The University is a partner in nine of the Challenges.

SfTI’s inaugural Director was Professor Margaret Hyland, now Vice-Provost (Research) at Victoria University of Wellington.

“The University has many researchers supporting National Science Challenges in different roles and this investment is good news for all of them and in turn for New Zealand,” says Professor Hyland.

“As Professor Davenport’s predecessor as SfTI Director, I am delighted to see that Challenge go from strength to strength under her leadership and receive such an important boost for its work.”