Rutherford Discovery Fellows discuss science impact

22 November 2017

Professor Anthony Poole
Professor Anthony Poole. Credit: Ken Downie

Rutherford Discovery Fellows from the School of Biological Sciences met this week with MBIE representatives to discuss how science impact is measured in New Zealand. Their meeting at the annual Rutherford Discovery Fellowship meeting in Wellington followed recent discussion in North & South magazine where the Fellows highlighted potential problems in how MBIE is proposing to assess science impact in a new discussion document.

Professor Ant Poole, Director of the Bioinformatics Institute, says “It looks to be pushing for a science system where impact is measured in terms of how quickly research gets turned into products in the market”, while conservation biologist Dr James Russell is worried about what “adding another level of reporting” would do to the workload and mental health of scientists in New Zealand. Dr Cate Macinnis-Ng, a tree physiologist, is concerned that "efforts to measure impact will lead to unfair outcomes for under-represented minorities”.

The original article Brace for Impact was published in the October 2017 issue of North & South magazine.