The evolution of New Zealand's Antarctic research since 1957
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree LevelPostgraduate Certificate
Degree NamePostgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies
New Zealand’s Antarctic research began during the 1957-58 International Geophysical Year. This analysis explains how it has evolved, and why. There have been two phases: 1957 - 1991, when the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research and the universities were the key research organisations; and after 1991, when the publicly funded research sector became more diverse. Funding decision processes have progressed from a bottom-up curiosity-driven approach to a more complex system of regular contests. International collaborations have been important throughout. Collaborative organisational interactions dominated decision-making during the early period. Bureaucratic politics is most evident in post-1991 organisational changes. Since 1991, the focus has been on coherent strategies and the outcomes sought. Funding criteria are well defined, and contests are widely accepted as fair and transparent. Reviews and evaluations have been positive. The quality of the research strategies has improved in terms of defining outcomes sought and appropriate measures of progress towards them. However, New Zealand’s Antarctic research funding is currently dispersed and needs better coordination. Collaborative research should be emphasised in areas where New Zealand has established a strong reputation taking account of both national and global priorities, if New Zealand’s international research standing is to be maintained and enhanced.