A Better Start National Science Challenge has secured $20.5m funding to continue its mission-led programme of innovative research to improve the potential of young New Zealanders to lead healthy and successful lives for a further five years from June 2019.

The funding was announced by the Science Board, the body responsible for investing Government funds in research, science and technology. The Hon Dr Megan Woods, the Minister of Research, Science an Innovation  welcomed the funding of $422.5 m across the 11 National Science Challenges. Challenge Director Professor Wayne Cutfield said, “We appreciate the confidence shown in the quality of Challenge science by the Science Board and our funder, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.” The funding announcement recognises the creativity and innovation shown by Challenge researchers and acknowledges the work of the Challenge management team to bring focus and clarity to a nationwide collaborative research effort. To date, A Better Start has invested more than $14m on four strategic research programmes and aligned research. The Challenge’s four research programmes are Healthy Weight, Resilient Teens, Successful Learning, with Big Data, an enabling theme working across all Challenge research. The Challenge has brought together more than 100 researchers drawn from many disciplines across multiple institutions to build the best teams. The announcement followed a rigourous process that included an assessment of the Challenge science by an independent panel. The key documents can be found here.