Story image

NZ government launches Ageing Well, the latest national science challenge

04 Mar 2015

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce has launched the Ageing Well National Science Challenge, one of 11 planned by the government to tackle the country's biggest science-based issues.

The Ageing Well challenge will get initial funding of $14.6 million and is the fifth of the national challenges launched to date.

Hosted by the University of Otago, the challenge will bring together researchers from seven New Zealand universities and is aimed at improving the health and well-being of older people. The long-term goal is to enhance New Zealand's ability to deal with the rapid demographic change underway which Joyce described as one of the country's biggest long-term societal and economic challenges.

"The number of New Zealanders aged 65 years and over is currently 650,000, and is projected to climb to more than 1 million in the late 2020s. Those aged 65 years and over will then account for 20-22 percent of our population, compared with 14 percent currently," Joyce said.

Researchers will focus on reducing and moderating the impact of dementia, strokes, depression, impaired vision and hearing, and physical disability. The challenge will also develop new techniques and technologies that improve the ability of older people to live independent lives by researching innovations in housing, transport and care services.

Up to a further $34 million of additional Health Research Council funding for existing projects on ageing tie into the challenge which complements the new Brain Health Centre of Research Excellence (CORE) announced last year, aimed at unlocking the secrets of the ageing brain.

The government allocated $133.5 million in new funding over four years in the 2012 and 2013 Budgets for the 11 national science challenges, with continued funding of $30.5 million per year after that. The total spend on the 11 national scheme challenges will be an estimated $1.6 billion, when you add in funding for the centres of research excellence, existing projects that tie into the challenges, and Health Research Council projects.

Other challenges launched so far include:

Launched in April last year the High Value Nutrition challenge is developing high value foods with validated health benefits;

The Deep South challenge launched in August last year aims to understand the role of the Antarctic and the Southern Ocean in determining our climate and future environment;

Launched in August last year, New Zealand's Biological Heritage is investigating how to better protect and manage our biodiversity, biosecurity and resilience to harmful organisms;

Sustainable Seas, launched in September, is looking at the best way to utilise our marine resources within environmental and biological constraints.

Another three challenges - Resilience to Nature's Challenges, Science for Technological Innovation and A Better Start, have had funding approved for a six-month phase to ready them for launch while proposals are being refined for the remainder.

Web design programmers do an about face – again!
Google is aggressively pushing speed in the mobile environment as a critical ranking factor, and many eb design teams struggling to reach 80%+ speed scores on Google speed tests with gorgeous – but heavy - WordPress templates and themes.
Digital spending to hit US$1.2 trillion by 2022
A recent study by Zinnov shows that IoT spend reached US$201 billion in 2018 while outsourcing service providers generated $40 billion in revenue.
'Iwi Algorithm' can grow Aotearoa's mana
Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei innovation officer Te Aroha Grace says AI can help to combine the values from different cultures to help grow Aotearoa’s mana and brand – and AI is not just for commercial gain.
Dropbox brings in-country document hosting to A/NZ & Japan
Dropbox Business users in New Zealand, Australia, and Japan will be able to store their Dropbox files in-country, beginning in the second half of 2019.
Why 'right to repair' legislation could be a new lease on life for broken devices
“These companies are profiting at the expense of our environment and our pocketbooks as we become a throw-away society that discards over 6 million tonnes of electronics every year.”
Kiwis know security is important, but they're not doing much about it
Only 49% of respondents use antivirus software and even fewer – just 19% -  change their passwords regularly.
Instagram: The next big thing in online shopping?
This week Instagram announced a new feature called checkout, which allows users to buy products they find on Instagram.
Apple's AirPods now come with 'Hey Siri' functionality
The new AirPods come with a standard case or a Wireless Charging Case that holds additional charges for more than 24 hours of listening time.