The establishment of a New Zealand centre of food safety science and research is one of the 29 recommendations in the Government Inquiry into the Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) Contamination Incident Report, released in December 2013.
The New Zealand Food Safety Science and Research Centre ("Centre") will coordinate, and deliver food safety science and research for New Zealand. The establishment of the Centre represents an increase in the funding available for food safety science and research, and will ensure that the New Zealand food safety system remains among the best in the world.
A collaborative workshop involving representatives from the New Zealand food industry, research organisations and Government was held on the 28th and 29th of May. This workshop was used to refine the structure, governance and functions of the Centre.
The Science Board selected research organisations to attend this workshop and bid to host the Centre in accordance with the Ministerial Notice "Notice Setting the Criteria for Selecting New Zealand Food Safety Science and Research Centre Workshop Participants", published in the
New Zealand Gazette, 1 May 2014, No. 44, page 1287.
In the current notice I set the criteria the Science Board must use when selecting the host of the Centre. Once this host has been selected, they will enter into a funding contract with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, under which it will develop a detailed research plan for the Centre, and a business plan to govern the Centre's ongoing operations.
Notice to the Science Board
1.1 In this notice, I:
(a) set the criteria the Science Board must use when selecting a research organisation to host the Centre under section 8(1) of the Research, Science and Technology Act 2010 ("Act");
(b) specify that the Science Board may allocate up to $0.5 million for the establishment phase of the Centre under section 10(3)(b) of the Act; and
(c) specify that the final funding decision on the Centre will be made by the Science Board under section 10(3)(b) of the Act.
General Policy Objective of the Centre
2.1 The Centre will be established to ensure:
(a) the delivery of excellent food safety science and research, to minimise the risks of foodborne illness and maximise economic growth opportunities;
(b) an increased level of food safety knowledge
and capability across the science sector, industry and Government;
(c) the provision of cutting-edge food safety outputs to relevant stakeholders in a timely manner; and
(d) national and international visibility, reputation and credibility for New Zealand food safety science
Governance principles for the Centre
3.1 The following governance principles have been developed in consultation with New Zealand's food industry, food safety researchers, government agencies and other food safety stakeholders. The Centre is expected to operate in accordance with these guidelines in achieving the policy objectives outlined above:
(a) The Centre's governance and management arrangements empower it to act independently in fulfilling its functions. The Centre's governance group will be expertise-based, rather than representative.
(b) The Centre will operate in an efficient manner that ensures "value for money". The governance and management arrangements for the Centre will reflect the need for efficiency in the Centre's operations.
(c) Advice provided to the Centre's governance is representative of the Centre's stakeholders. It will represent the views of New Zealand's food industry, research organisations and the Government.
(d) To allow the views of different stakeholders to be expressed, advice provided to the Centre governance may not always be "consensus based".
(e) To ensure an international perspective on the Centre's strategic direction and research priorities, a range of international expertise should provide advice to the Centre's governance.
Vision Matauranga policy
4.1 The Centre is expected to give effect to the Vision Matauranga policy. The Vision Matauranga policy aims to unlock the science and innovation potential of Maori knowledge, resources and people for the benefit of
New Zealand. It focuses on four themes:
(a) Indigenous Innovation - contributing to economic growth through distinctive science and innovation;
(b) Taiao/Environment - achieving environmental sustainability through iwi and hapu relationships with land and sea;
(c) Hauora/Health - improving health and social
(d) Matauranga - exploring indigenous knowledge and science and innovation.
Eligibility criteria for hosting the Centre
5.1 The following organisations have been selected by the Science Board as eligible to apply to be the host of
the Centre, in accordance with criteria set in the notice with the heading "Notice Setting the Criteria for Selecting New Zealand Food Safety Science and Research Centre Workshop Participants", published in the New Zealand Gazette,1 May 2014, No. 44, page 1287:
(b) the Cawthron Institute;
(c) the Institute of Environmental Science and Research;
(d) Massey University;
(e) Plant & Food Research;
(f) the University of Auckland;
(g) the University of Otago.
5.2 Applicants must meet any applicable timing, formatting, system or other similar administrative requirements imposed by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment in supplying administrative services to the Science Board under section 10(7) of the Act.
Assessment criteria for selecting the host of the Centre
6.1 Collaboration, network development and stakeholder relationships
(a) To what extent does the applicant:
(i) have a successful track record of and robust processes for establishing and leading multi-party research collaborations;
(ii) demonstrate the support of relevant
New Zealand based research organisations, the New Zealand food industry and other food safety science and research end-users to host the Centre;
(iii) outline an effective approach and process for establishing a science network across all key food safety science expertise in New Zealand;
(iv) have a strong track record of engaging effectively to deliver high quality industry-relevant research programmes;
(v) outline a process for ensuring relevant industry and science stakeholders are engaged in the development of the Centre's business plan and research plan; and
(vi) have linkages to international regulators, research organisations and food industry organisations appropriate for hosting the Centre?
6.2 Governance and management
(a) To what extent:
(i) do the proposed governance arrangements give effect to the governance principles described in Clause 3;
(ii) does the applicant outline effective draft governance and management arrangements for the Centre;
(iii) does the applicant outline a process for selecting the Centre's governance, including advisory groups and key management roles;
(iv) does the applicant propose an effective process for developing the Terms of Reference for the Centre's governance;
(v) does the applicant demonstrate the ability to establish processes to set science and research priorities that are supported by all stakeholders; and
(vi) does the applicant demonstrate the involvement of New Zealand based research organisations and New Zealand food industry stakeholders in the development of their draft governance and management arrangements?
6.3 Host support to the Centre
(a) To what extent does the:
(i) applicant have the capability and resources to provide administrative functions to support
the establishment and ongoing operation of the Centre including basic infrastructure (e.g. IT systems);
(ii) applicant have access to appropriate research infrastructure to support food safety science and research;
(iii) applicant have the capability and resources for the financial management of the Centre;
(iv) applicant demonstrate a successful track record in the financial management of multi-party research collaborations;
(v) applicant propose effective processes for recruiting the Centre chief executive and any support staff;
(vi) applicant propose effective processes for developing the business plan and research plan; and
(vii) applicant's proposal demonstrate a commitment to minimising establishment costs and lead-time?
6.4 Sector leadership
(a) To what extent does the applicant demonstrate:
(i) their ability to deliver against the principles of the Vision Matauranga policy (as described in Clause 4), and a commitment to implementing Vision Matauranga principles in the Centre's operations; and
(ii) a strong reputation in the field of food safety science and research across government, industry, research organisations and internationally?
Dated at Wellington this 3rd day of July 2014.
HON STEVEN JOYCE, Minister of Science and Innovation.