Enhancing and Supporting MBIE's Plans for Te Ara Paerangi

The aim of the first phase was to share 'submission snippets' and ideas for the first submission round. Over 40 submission snippets were posted for sharing and re-use on the site. Once MBIE released submissions to the public, we made it easy for anyone to access them all.

Having carefully read the White Paper, it is clear that MBIE Science and all the people around the motu who contributed, deserve another round of thanks. They will also need broad, ongoing public support to bring the plans to life.

The white paper thoroughly describes the many issues in our current system that are so, so broken. This honest approach is to be commended. Without that basis, it is not possible to have a constructive discussion which will let us move forward together.

It is dense, deep, and thorough. At the same time, the many images and diagrams help highlight the key messages. Incredibly well done.

There are many details to work through. Implementation will face resistance by some who are happy enough with what we have now. There is a danger that economic ideology may prevail as it did in the late 80's and early 90's.

The elephants in the room are the ones that may prevent the best possible future as envisaged by this collective work. By working together, towards what is best for the many, we stand a chance to resist change that is best for just a few.

That is what Te Ara Paerangi Community was created to help do. Sign up. Make a profile. Be part of the change. Help make this real.

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Welcome to Te Ara Paerangi Community

We aim to help people across Aotearoa participate in the review and renewal of the research system undertaken by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment. They have named the process "Te Ara Paerangi – Future Pathways". We are doing this by building an interdisciplinary community and culture of cooperation between organisations, institutions, and networks, removing barriers to participation, and helping people join together around shaping the future of research.

Central to the community are the people who come here, bringing their best selves, to interact with others, to share experiences and knowledge, and to help shape that pathway to a Research, Science, & Innovation system that is the best it can be for all of Aotearoa. You can help by becoming a member of the community, aiding in developing the culture, and bringing in other like minded friends, colleagues, and organisations. If they wish, the work of organisations can be done under an organisation account and / or identified by hash tags. Spaces based on topics, specific goals etc. can be created by any member.

The technical basis of it is a modern mobile-native community collaboration platform. People can sign up and create a profile. They can then create / join topic spaces, have discussions in community forums, have private individual / group conversations (instant messaging), share documents, ideas, and publish content. Work done on the site can be private, limited to members, or public. Profiles can be real names or confidential. In these ways, community members may maintain their privacy or not as they wish.

About Te Ara Paerangi - Future Pathways

Te Ara Paerangi - Future Pathways is the government's response to issues raised around the research, science and innovation system across a series of consultations in the past several years. It is a multi-year process that will look at the issues with the current system, investigate solutions, and prepare the research system for the future.

The public process started with the release of the Green Paper (ideas / discussion document) published on 28th October 2021. That was followed by 12 starting the conversation sessions in November and December. Further consultation hui followed in February and March.

A submission process opened in December 2021 and concluded on 16th March 2022. In December of 2022 MBIE released the White Paper describing the plan and pathway to implementation.
MBIE is keen to get further input and support from a broad set of people, including this community. There are many steps in the process, which will go on for several years. The Te Ara Paerangi Community will continue on that journey.

The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment has stated: "We are not pre-committed to any solutions – this process will help to shape the issues, challenge the assumptions we’ve made, and help create solutions that we can all get behind." This community is joining together to take them up on this and put forth the best possible ideas for a future research system for all of Aotearoa.

Quote of the Day

With so many different grant types and funding rounds, and so much competition, a lot of resource is wasted on submitting grants using different forms etc.

- Anonymous Respondent 16 Submission

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[Blended image of two "me"s standing next to a Kauri tree that was planted a few weeks after I was born, about 37 years apart]

Opening karakia from Dr Willy-John Martin [by working together, we will flourish and achieve greatness]

Panelists: Professor Gary Evans (Chief Science Advisor, MBIE), Dr Prue Williams (General manager, Future Research System, MBIE), Dr Willy-John Martin (Director of Māori Research, Science and Innovation, MBIE), Tara Thurlow-Ray (Manager, Future Pathways, MBIE)

Prue Williams


  • Te Ara Paerangi whitepaper launched 6th December, builds on what was heard
  • over 900 submissions to green paper
  • All views taken and summaries
  • Whitepaper includes key policy directions and a roadmap
  • The policy document is intended to demonstrate an enduring, multi-year program


  • Innovators and researchers have served well over the past 30 years
  • There is a strong desire and need for change
  • Whitepaper summarises the need for change, resources have been spread thinly
  • Institutions and funding needs to be adapted
  • Need to increase the efficiency of the system
  • The existing system lacks diversity
  • White paper provides a blueprint to address the challenges

Vision Statement

  • Four objectives, providing a framework
  • People and the ability to adapt will maximise the output
  • Key part: embedding Te Tiriti; this will be incorporated into the design

Willy-John Martin

Objective 1 - The impact objective

  • Focusing Research, Science and Innovation (RSI) on things that matter
  • Focusing resources
  • Providing a clear direction from the government, promoting collaboration over unproductive competition
  • <...>
  • Looking to accelerate the information transfer, and facilitate global collaboration
  • Looking to improve and translate discoveries
  • Key part: use RSI to make new futures for our country

Objective 2 - Embedding Te Tiriti

  • There has previously been inefficient expression
  • Overall responsiveness to Te Tiriti has been weak
  • Want to embed Te Tiriti aspirations at all levels
  • Want to allow Māori to explore their own priorities
  • Addressing lower funding issues for Māori, providing for Māori-led National Research Priorities (NRPs)
  • Partnering with Māori, and providing them with a dedicated platform
  • Crafting a Te Tiriti / Waitangi statement

Tara Thurlow-Ray

Objective 3 - Our greatest asset in RSI is our people

  • Valuing our people
  • Addressing the issues raised in response to the green paper, especially around career precarity and other things that affect wellbeing
  • Greater emphasis on fellowships
  • Pathways to <...>
  • Key directives: attracting, developing & retaining people; addressing settings that disincentivise long-term employment; grow representation of Māori, women, and Pacific people
  • Limited reach, there are existing systemic issues that have led to precarity; a change in infrastructure is needed

Objective 4 - Building system agility

  • Sustainable, cohesive system
  • Changing the system of governance, making sure that public research is recognised and valued
  • Effective government and ownership
  • Coordinating investments; system-wide investment
  • Reform for resilience, adaptation, improving transparency for research overheads

Implementation plans

  • Three phases - main phases, but often operate in parallel
  • 1. Immediate people support; changing processes will happen over many years, but won't wait until 2026 for a discussion
  • 2. Start consultation to determine NRPs; want to work with you
  • Can stay up to day on the website, setting up new ways
  • Green paper submissions are still live and active

Prue Williams

  • The release of the whitepaper is the beginning of reform
  • We are trying to ensure that RSI sets researchers up for success
  • Want changes of high significance to New Zealand
  • Want to adapt to new and emerging issues
  • Thank you for taking the time for listening


  • What are the key differences between National Science Challenges and National Research Priorities? We are trying to take lessons from NSCs and other examples; how to manage balance of setting top level priorities and more nuanced ways. The answer is still to come, looking for better areas, setting at a national level.
  • Where will investment come from? Across the system, government is committed to achieving the target. It will come from a combination of private and government spending. Government will add money as fiscal conditions allow.
  • What is the role for fundamental research? Don't want to remove things; there will always be a space for competitive grants and fundamental research.
  • How will the changes affect the health sector? There are a number of different research strategies in New Zealand, strategies for Te Ara Paerangi sit alongside that. Health research is very important for New Zealand, so we don't expect a lot of changes, except where there would be positive benefits.
  • Will a change of government impact Te Ara Paerangi? Our history demonstrates a need for National Research Priorities to be enduring; it can take some time to flesh that out. We are working to design a system for government to direct key priorities and issues. None of us want the priorities to change with the government.
  • How will the gap between users and researchers be closed? We haven't designed a way to take this in, it's part of future work. There are existing avenues for discussions with Māori communities, and these will continue.
  • If people have already told us about their ideas, we don't want to waste their time with more questions about the same thing; we need to read the ideas before returning for more information.
  • We will be tweeting any updates; there is a monthly newsletter, and we will be trying to capture discussion on the key questions on our website.
  • What role do universities have? A lot of researchers are at universities, we are keen to make sure they are involved. There is a regular working group with the Ministry of Education around issues that apply to both education and RSI. We regularly talk to directors, DDCRs and Vice Chancellors. A majority of the involvements from academics are from researchers within universities.
  • What do we do about existing racist institutions? We are looking for a change in culture. For example, the Endeavour fund allows a narrative CV (for people from non-traditional or non-academic backgrounds.
  • How do we build Māori capacity? There is an intent to have a Māori-led National Research Priority; the process to get there still needs to be hammered out
  • Large parts of the funding will sit outside the National Research Priorities
  • Are there specific plans for research mobility? The system of a static career is part of our past; we look forward to hearing from people about how to make it work in practice.
  • Is there infrastructure to support the non-academic workforce? We do recognise RSI is make up of a lot of different people. There are some fantastic conversations with industry. It has been good to look at the research community as a whole.

Key themes

  • Some changes (not huge impact) will happen this year
  • Hoping to be releasing Te Tiriti statement early this year
  • Want to set up a system, have identified a number of areas where we can get started
  • Releasing discussion documents

Closing karakia from Dr Willy-John Martin [setting aside the discussions of the day]

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A space to brainstorm topics for the upcoming Te Ara Paerangi Community Panel series: starting late summer 2023

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[sorry, most notes skipped; I started writing notes in the Zoom interface, and wasn't able to copy them over]

* Creating new futures - our impact Objective

* Want to be clear about what are public good science services
* Funding mechanisms: want to support excellence, improve transparency of overhead
* Some long-term planning required, need to work with th sector

* Phase-based approach, immediate priority is workplace and people support
* Then looking at how government and institutions need to change
* All change processes take a significant amount of time, will take months / years
* Will not wait until 2026 for structure or funding, will be having those conversations
next year
* Phase 1 - Significant workforce changes, including starting to embedding Te Tirity
* Training schemes
* International talent attraction
* First step is to embed Te Tiriti into the design
* Phase 2 - Establish National Research Priorities
* Work to set up / establish / identify starts already
* Phase 3 - Implement any of the changes required
* Expected to start working on this next year

What's next?
* Many ideas came through in submissions, submissions are still live and being used


* Release of the White Paper is only a beginning
* Have identified 4 objectives of most significance to NZ

Q & A Session

[note: this is incomplete; I got distracted on a few occasions trying to write questions]

Response to Te Tiriti

* Important to look across everything, how do we understand what is investing,
and the purpose of diversity
* Need to get better at monitoring data
* Not going to be a case of only having one tool, will need a few things
* Analysing some investments to understand how they're working for Māori
* Collection of data is an important part
* Legal implications of privacy
* A bit of work ahead of us
* National Research Priorities vs National Science Challenges
* National Science Challenges had a panel, a different era to what we have now
* Thinking very carefully about what that process will be
* Base grant funding model, no explicit mention in white paper
* Everyone had a very different idea of base grant, what they wanted it to achieve
* Have tried to bring it back to issues / challenges / funding mechanism
* Base grant is a solution, not the answer to challenges
* Trying to pull back from base grant as a solution, looking for a range of different approaches

How will you plan to engage on the NRPs and reforms? Will it just be through the MBIE channels - many people within the RSI system still not aware of these major reforms.
* Still missing people, there will be people in the sector just doing the māhi
* Not going to do this in isolation
* Members working through Twitter to make sure information is being lifted up
and gathered together in a single place on Twitter
* How robust is TAP to change in goverments?
* Have tried to make sure working with people across the centre, making changes
as national as possible, as broad as possible.
* Keeping on working with the sector and testing out possibilities.
* Trying to make sure this is not something that is forced on everyone.
* e.g. earthquakes can change priorities

Could CRIs be merged together?
* National priorities could require people to work together, want to get collaborations
working together
* How is the difference between senior and ECR being managed?
* No detail yet in white paper; detail yet to come
* Working closely with MoE
* Will be engaging with industry

National Science Challenge funding will come to an end in 2024, what happens after that?
* National Science Priorities timeline set early to allow continuity

The White Paper makes frequent reference to digitilsation/data/software capabilities, and the wider range of skills and careers needed to support a dynamic, diverse, response research system. What sorts of ideas are coming through in this (rather broad) area?
* White paper hasn't dropped down to that level of detail
* We need to use data effectively

The white paper seems to suggest that the government would prefer to sit back and let businesses increase their funding for research, rather than any government increases. What plans are there to increase government funding as a proportion of total research funding?
* GDP is a combination of both government and private spend
* Paper focuses a lot on public good funding

What mechanisms will be put in place to affect other local and central govenrment agencies to implement the new system?
* Wanting to make sure parts are well connected to the system.
* We have an active discussion with other parts of government.

Publications / Track record ?
* A lot of work with global research council
* Other countries are also facing similar issues
* Quite a worldwide trend thinking about academic focus on CVs, publications
* Have introduced narrative CV
* We have a really strong network where we share
* We all share the same challenges with peer review, carrying out good assessments
in constrained time periods
* Global research connections
* We have a whole international team making sure it's part of the response

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I gave a talk+ at the NZAS conference last week. It covered Te Ara Paerangi Community and the next phase, some history of RSI system reforms in New Zealand, as well as some bigger picture (meaning beyond the green paper scope) things that might just matter in getting a reform that improves what we can achieve together. Here is a link to the video. A fair warning: the subtitles were automagically generated and may cause you to laugh out loud.

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One of the fundamental reasons research is so important is that it allows us to discern things that are true, but not intuitive from things that are false, but seem intuitive.

While reading through the submissions, I was reminded of concerns that I had during the 2019 Research, Science, and Innovation Strategy development. One of those concerns was around how submissions that were not (well) supported by research would be compared with those that were. Some of the documents relate personal experiences that are not likely to be in the research literature. Others make assertions -- sometimes with support, sometimes not.

One example of a well supported submission is from a group of Early Career Researchers from the University of Otago Department of Psychology. (https://www.mbie.govt.nz/dmsdocument/21039-ecrs-otago-university-psychology-te-ara-paerangi-future-pathways-green-paper-submission-pdf) Their submission had 22 citations of primary literature over 7 pages. Doug Edmeades' submission (https://www.mbie.govt.nz/dmsdocument/21783-doug-edmeades-te-ara-paerangi-future-pathways-green-paper-submission-pdf)was literally a copy of a peer reviewed article he published in the New Zealand Science Review. This anonymous submission(https://www.mbie.govt.nz/dmsdocument/21015-anonymous-respondent-te-ara-paerangi-future-pathways-green-paper-submission-pdf), covering a broad range of issues, has numerous primary literature citations as well as hyperlinks (which did not make it through the release process).

The examples above are the work of either individuals, or a small group of people -- working on their own time and with their own energy, without remuneration. There are many other well researched examples in the 458 released submissions.

In contrast the Universities New Zealand submission (https://www.mbie.govt.nz/dmsdocument/20919-universities-new-zealand-te-ara-paerangi-future-pathways-green-paper-submission-pdf)(which ran to 14 pages with 13 footnotes), had no references to primary literature. Similarly, the Science NZ (Organisation for championing and supporting the contribution of CRIs) had 25 footnotes over 44 pages. (https://www.mbie.govt.nz/dmsdocument/20832-science-new-zealand-te-ara-paerangi-future-pathways-green-paper-submission-pdf)Like the Universities New Zealand submission, there were no references to primary literature. Together, these organisations represent the institutions which make up most of the publicly funded research capability in Aotearoa New Zealand. They are also on the reference group for Te Ara Paerangi. The contrast between the previous examples and these two is puzzling. If any groups would have the resources to present thoroughly researched submissions, one might expect it to be these two. So, why didn't they?

One submission (which I am unable to put my finger on at the moment) asserted something along the lines of 'We should do more of what we are good at -- primary industries." Returning to my first point, I'll leave you with this video from Sir Paul Callaghan whose research will allow you to understand some things that are true, but not intuitive.

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The European Commission has recently released the Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment. You can read the news release and / or watch a brief video about it below. This consensus document represents a huge effort by many people. We would do well to incorporate their work into our discussions about Te Ara Paerangi.

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We've had a bit of time since the big push for submissions to catch up on other things and perhaps think a bit about what might happen next. With the announcement last week of MBIE's summaries of the submissions being published, it seemed like a good time to get all the submissions that they made public and make it easy for others to get them too. 

I clicked through every page of the search results(https://www.mbie.govt.nz/document-library/search?keywords=tearapaerangifuturepathwaysgreenpapersubmission&df=&dt=&submit=Search&sort=desc&start=0), copied the link, and added it into a script for download. Then downloaded all the files and made the script and files accessible to everyone. Links are in the Released Submissions space(https://te-ara-paerangi.community/page/view-space-profile?id=10). There is some really good stuff in the submissions. Some are well referenced and fact based. Others more opinion. Some of submissions are from groups that I may not have expected.

Please have a look and feel free to start new discussions in the Released Submissions space. Maybe highlight submissions or parts that really resonate with you. Or even present count-arguments if that is appropriate. We are still in early day with a process that is a generational opportunity for change. Let's do what we can to help make the outcome the best it can be for everyone in Aotearoa New Zealand.

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This space is for discussing the submissions that MBIE has released. There are over 400 documents. To make them easy to get, I have made a script to download them all (https://gitlab.com/relshire/te-ara-paerangi/-/blob/main/download_all_submissions.sh) . To make it even easier, I placed all the files on our data server where you can download them individually or all at once (https://data.elshiregroup.co.nz/s/N54TeHrtbMDG6GJ).

There are a wide range of groups / people who made submissions. Some really excellent work / thoughts / ideas to follow up on and discuss -- as well as some that are not so great that perhaps should be discussed too.

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MBIE has announced the release of their summaries of the submissions today (30th June 2022). We provide quick links for you to:


Part I - a general report summarising al submissions and engagements

Part II - a report summarising Māori submissions and engagements

On the same page this is under the heading "Next Steps"

We are reviewing the information in submissions and considering this alongside undertaking further policy work. As the policy design process becomes more detailed and options are narrowed down, there will be further opportunities for engagement, and further consultation. We will provide updates as the work continues to evolve.

The Te Ara Paerangi Community has been noticed by MBIE. We look forward to working towards a future research, science, and innovation system that works for all Kiwis. To get there we will need to reach a broader group of people who use or want to use public research. In this way, there will be a truer representation of the needs of society, rather then primarily voices of those who have resources or are very senior in the current system.

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Te Ara Paerangi - Future Pathways process is intended to build a new research system for Aotearoa New Zealand. We have gathered a group of people here (mostly researchers so far) and put out some great ideas to get things started. Our plan is to reach out broadly across Aotearoa to more researchers, and crucially to those who are users of research. Examples of users include: whānau, hapū and iwi, local and regional councils, community groups, businesses, non-governmental organisations, and charities. By listening to one another, sharing our talents and our challenges we can design a future research system that works for everyone. Such a research system will provide the foundation for a future Aotearoa that is prosperous for all of our people. With that in mind, we offer a talk by Sir Paul Callaghan from 2011. After the upcoming holidays, we start the next steps in expanding this community and working our plan.

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There is an article in the March 26th edition of the New Zealand Listener on the state of the research system. The magazine comes out the week before the date. If you want a copy, it will still be around for a few days in the stores. Many of the people quoted in the article are members of this community, including me.

From the article:

Agencies and scientists are competing, sometimes aggressively. The winners take all and the losers emigrate.

That quote makes me think about the many great researchers that I have known who have left due to the system. Through Te Ara Paerangi and beyond, we have to make it better.

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I have posted a web version of my longish (22 pages) submission at: https://rpubs.com/johnhm/876374
The seven headings are:

1  Needed changes in RSI infrastructure
2 Data analysis and related skills
3 Open data, all data, and reproducible reporting
4 Scientific critique of scientific processes
5 Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning
6 Unbiased and open advice in the public arena
7  Features of a new national RSI infrastructure

There are extensive references, a number of which have very general relevance to the scientific enterprise.




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Kia ora! I've just gone through and added a list of new terms and abbreviations to the glossary section. Most of these are taken from the joint New Zealand Association of Scientists / Te Pūnaha Matatini effort on submissions to the Te Ara Paerangi green paper, but please go through and add anything we have missed...(or let us know if you have any additions/suggestions on the definitions). Ngā mihi!

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Tertiary Education Commission

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Research, Science and Innovation

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Revealed Comparative Advantage

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Private Training Establishment

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Principle Investigator

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Performance-Based Research Fund

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Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics