Victoria University Wins $5m Research Grants
Press Release: Victoria University of Wellington - Wednesday, 21 May 2003

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Researchers in Victoria University's two newest schools have been awarded almost $5 million in grants from the Foundation for Research Science and Technology.

Three grants have been won by researchers in the School of Government and the Victoria Management School, worth $4.9 million over six years. Both Schools were established in July last year. Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart McCutcheon praised the researchers for their success in such a highly competitive grant round.

"Winning Foundation grants is not easy and the success of academics in the School of Government and the Victoria Management School in picking up these substantial research grants pinpoints Victoria's reputation as a centre of excellence for teaching and research in government, public policy and management issues. It is also a testament to their commitment to excellence and of the University's efforts in supporting them to achieve the best."

The largest grant, worth $2.148 million over five years, has been won by a multi-disciplinary team, based in the Victoria Management School but including researchers from the Schools of Maori Studies, Social and Cultural Studies and Psychology. Professor Pat Walsh, Dean of Commerce and Administration and a professor in the Victoria Management School, leads the team.

The project, which includes co-researchers at Massey University, will investigate how New Zealand can get the best out of the people employed in businesses and organisations. The research is based on the premise that much can be done in New Zealand to better develop and use the talent of its workers and to make New Zealand a work destination of choice for skilled migrants. It particularly examines the influence of labour market and skill development policies, and employment institutions, such as the Employment Court and trade unions, as well as public and private sector employers in developing the capability of New Zealand organisations and workers.

Professor Claudia Scott, from the School of Government, leads a team from Victoria, along with researchers from Local Government New Zealand, Auckland University and the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research. The research project, funded at $1.25 million over five years, will help councils improve their strategic policy capability and develop long-term community plans that deliver economic, social, environmental and cultural outcomes. The researchers will design an evaluative framework to benchmark existing strategic planning practice. Detailed study and analysis of 15 New Zealand local authorities will be undertaken, with a view to encouraging improvements in strategic policy and planning practice.

Associate Professor Lawrence Corbett leads a team from Victoria that, along with researchers at Otago, Massey and Waikato universities, has been awarded $1.5 million over six years. The research programme aims to help New Zealand businesses to discover and exploit commercial advantages that will allow them to succeed in the global economy. By understanding why some businesses are successful overseas, the knowledge can help others to do the same. The programme will particularly examine the development of innovative manufacturing and service organisations as the primary vehicles for the creation of economic value from New Zealand's distinctive natural, social, knowledge, creative, and regional resources.