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MIL OSI – Source: Tertiary Education Union – Release/Statement

Headline: Competitive funding for research fails NZ again

Cutting funding to longitudinal research shows the government has a basic misunderstanding of the role of tertiary education, says TEU national president Sandra Grey.

Grey says by cutting 5000 children from the Growing Up in NZ longitudinal study the government’s competitive funding model shows it lacks wisdom or long-term vision.

The study is New Zealand’s largest longitudinal study. Based at the University of Auckland, it was meant to follow 7000 families for the first 21 years of their children’s lives.

Now, after a funding cut from government, the study, which has been going for nearly a decade, will shed 5000 of its 7000 children.

Grey says the cut is short-sighted and lacking in wisdom.

“Research like this is crucial to our understanding of our community and the world we live in.”

“It’s bizarre that such a study would have to contest for funding half way through its lifetime. Much of the time and energy researchers have invested into those 5000 families is now lost.”

Grey says the government’s competitive funding model for research does not save money because of all the administration and bureaucracy costs that go with it, but it does make it harder for universities to do important, sustainable, long-term research.

“New Zealand is losing good research because of blinkered government ideology,” she says.