National proposes $50k tech PhD scholarships

The National Party has announced it would, if elected, fund $50,000 scholarships to encourage 200 PhD candidates to spend at least six months in New Zealand.

National Party leader Judith Collins campaigning at Weatherell Transport in Gisborne on 24 September, 2020.

National Party leader Judith Collins
Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

The scheme would be open to science, maths, technology and engineering (STEM) and other technology-related fields, and would aim to establish and boost connections with leading global tertiary educators.

Announcing the plan in Christchurch, party leader Judith Collins said it was part of the party’s plan to double the size of New Zealand’s tech sector within 10 years.

“As part of this programme we are encouraging global talent to engage and connect with our business community. We hope to establish strong cultural and professional ties with the world’s best and brightest,” Collins says.

“Our tech sector has amazing potential. If we attract the right talent and create an environment for growth then our tech sector will fuel our economy for years to come.

“New Zealand needs to grow its way out of this economic crisis, which will only be possible with the hard work, ingenuity and determination of the private sector.”

She said the party’s tech plan would diversify exports, increase economic productivity and generate thousands of high-paying future proofed jobs.

It was not immediately clear from the party’s policy statement whether the new scholarships – which were not included in the initial policy release – would be a one-off or ongoing programme, nor whether the funding for them was already included in planned spending.

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