The Government has laid out its plans for investment in science over the next 10 years, including changes to the main funding mechanism.
Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce this morning launched the National Statement of Science Investment in Wellington.
"The [statement] provides a timely stocktake on the overall shape of our science system that will help determine where the next investments should be made," he said.
As a result of feedback on a draft statement released last year, the Government would redesign the contestable fund for science investment which is managed by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).
Mr Joyce said it would be a single, more agile fund which was "able to respond to emerging opportunities".
"Funding will be offered through two investment mechanisms with an Investment Plan to signal how, when and why the Government will invest over a three year horizon," the minister said.
New investment would target "high impact" areas, he said.
All applications for funding would face rigorous tests and would need to have a "clear line of sight" for benefitting New Zealand society, businesses or the environment.
There would also be a greater focus on transparency and accountability, which would give the Cabinet more confidence in where it invested its money.
Underpinning this focus would be a comprehensive evaluation of public science and a new monitoring and reporting system to review what was working and what was not.
The 10 year strategy also included developing more regional research institutes such as the Cawthron Institute, and a review of Crown Research Institutes' core funding.
Speaking about the CRI funding review, Mr Joyce told reporters: "It's probably the funding that has got the least strings attached to anybody. We effectively write a cheque out once a year to each of the CRIs and say do your best and come back and tell us what you've spent the money on."
The Government reiterated its commitment to raise spending on R&D from 0.67 per cent of GDP, or $1.5 billion, to 0.8 per cent of GDP, if fiscal conditions allowed.
Mr Joyce said he wanted the private sector's investment in R&D to grow to 1 per cent of GDP by 2025.
R&D was already increasing in the ICT and high-tech manufacturing sector, he said, and the main challenge would be getting primary industries to spend more.
"We're probably going to have to insist [that they] lift their R&D innovation again," Mr Joyce said.
He said the meat and fruit sector were well-positioned to increase their investment after recent growth. He admitted that the under-pressure dairy sector might not be willing to invest more immediately, but that it was in their long-term interests to put more into R&D.
He expected a greater investment by the dairy industry in the area of reducing carbon emissions.
Royal Society president Professor Richard Bedford said the national statement had changed dramatically from the draft issued last May, which had caused some concerns in the sector. He was pleased by its focus on "discovery led research".