Monday, 15 March 2010

R&D blues

there are so many things that have been happening in the last year and a half that make me angry, too many to count. cuts to things that matter, but apparently plenty of money for things that don't, including big tax cuts for top income earners.

and last week cuts to our research and development sector were announced. again. this reminds me so much of the nastiness of a decade ago, when science funding had to be applied for annually so that it was almost impossible to plan for long-term projects. when constant restructuring and layoffs meant an terribly stressful work environment.

according to the CEO of agresearch, the cuts are a result of farmers deciding to no longer pay the meat and wool levy. however, there is also the requirement for CRIs to now provide a 12% profit, even though we are supposedly in a recession.

this latest announcement relates to scientific staff, but once they are gone, it means that the jobs of all related support staff will be at risk. it's a significant contraction of the organisation, and a stupid move given that so much of our global competitive advantage arises from the research done by our CRIs.

when i think that we could have had secure funding based on a mix of government and private sector input via the fast forward fund, it makes me want to cry. how can we expect to have high quality research and innovation in an environment of constant cuts and restructuring? it just won't happen.


Azlemed said...

its pretty depressing too when you are married to someone who is in that field, his job is pretty secure at the moment, but a continuation of lowered funding always leads to job cuts.

Placebogirl said...

I'm the kind of person New Zealand wants and needs--I work in the knowledge industry. Knowledge is something New Zealand could and should export--the distance from everywhere else doesn't matter when you export knowledge. I live in Australia because I could not find a job in New Zealand, and now my dream of moving home looks increasingly distant, and that is pretty depressing. Not only that, but one of my good friends, who has a masters degree in science (and whose partner is a qualified engineer) just managed to scrape together enough money to buy a house in one of NZ's less-expensive cities, and is now facing redundancy from a CRI. And I can't find one earthly reason not to encourage her to jump ship and come here too.

Deborah said...

You're singing my song, Placebogirl.

Lucy said...

when science funding had to be applied for annually so that it was almost impossible to plan for long-term projects.

In some fields that really hasn't changed much.