The Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities National Science Challenge is set to continue to develop and deliver world-leading research into our built environment.
Following the National Science Challenges midway review, the MBIE Science Board has approved Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities National Science Challenge phase II funding of $24.3M, bringing its total investment in the Challenge to $47.9M over 10 years.
The funding announcement was made by Minister of Research, Science and Innovation Megan Woods on 17 November, with this second period of investment to run from 1 July 2019.
The Science Board’s approval follows a positive mid-way review of the 11 Challenges.
“Funding for the National Science Challenges was allocated for ten years in two five-year periods, ensuring the opportunity to review the performance and future direction of each Challenge at the mid-way point,” says Minister Woods.
“The review found that, while all are at different stages of development, each Challenge is delivering excellent, collaborative research programmes that have significant potential for major and enduring benefits for New Zealand.
“I’m delighted to see that the Challenges are fundamentally changing the culture of how science is being undertaken in New Zealand. The Challenges bring our top scientists and researchers together to work collaboratively, to work across disciplines, and to co-develop science with a broad range of stakeholders and Māori – something that we are truly leading the world in.
“Over 150 projects are now underway across the Challenges, already delivering over 400 publications since 2014. This research has the potential for tangible impacts in a number of wider Government priority areas such as biosecurity, child well-being, mental health, resilience to hazards, climate change, sustainable land-use, and housing and urban development,” says Dr Woods.
“I welcome the Science Board’s decision to grant this next tranche of funding as it will provide the certainty to enable our Challenges to continue their programmes and, through excellent and impactful science, deliver solutions to an array of issues we face as a country.”
Building Better Challenge Director, Ruth Berry, also welcomes the announcement, “We have another $24m to continue to make tangible, positive changes in New Zealand’s built environment by researching what makes great homes, towns, and cities.
In summarising the Challenge’s work to date, the Science Board wrote, “Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities has achieved a significant amount in a relatively short timeframe and has the potential to deliver impactful science and add real value to, and influence, the national agenda on housing and urban development. It has made a step change by bringing together previously disjointed researchers into a collaborative, multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional research programme that is well connected to stakeholders, communities, and endusers.
“Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities has demonstrated innovation in projects, and delivered high quality science and a number of significant outputs. These include outputs on impacts of land covenants on affordable housing, geospatial tools to support urban planning, and the high profile Te Puea Marae model in Māngere, South Auckland, to respond to the homelessness crisis.”