15 Jul 2008

Research funding announced

8:58 am on 15 July 2008

Primary sector-related research gets the biggest single slice of the main funding round for the year announced by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology.

But while some research bodies are pleased with the amount they will get, the biggest institute, AgResearch, is disappointed with its share.

FRST has approved a record $785 million in contracts with more than two dozen research institutes, universities and other organisations, to be spread over a number of years.

The primary production sector will get about $38m in the first year, in contested and negotiated contracts.

The foundation says it has increased funding for pastoral agriculture research by more than the value of money released by contracts that have ended.

AgResearch says it's ended up with about $1.2m less in contestable funding in this round.

Science strategy manager, Dr Travis Glare, says FRST has stopped funding for six of research programmes and the funding period has been shortened for research aimed at developing vaccines against bovine tuberculosis.

However, the Crop & Food Institute has done well out of this year's funding round, with increased levels of support over a broad range of programmes, adding up to more than $40m over five years.

HortResearch also says it's also pleased with its allocation of $39.5m.

Chief scientist Ian Fergusson, says a number of its research programmes had to be terminated this year because of lack of funding and the investment will help with these.

He says the money will help the institute further its research in its three main strategy areas of plant breeding, sustainable production and functional foods.