Over the last twelve months the institute has engaged in discussions with some of New Zealand’s deepest thinkers on how best to propel New Zealand forward. Our latest think piece is a reflection on these discussions and builds on our Report 9: Science Embraced. The think piece identifies ways we might best make New Zealand, as the late Sir Paul Callaghan said, ‘a place where talent wants to live.’  Sir Paul was a great fan of Steve Jobs, who said, ‘… the intersection of humanities and science. I like that intersection. There’s something magical about that place.’

One of the key observations from the discussions was that we should all be working harder to create a place where young New Zealanders can stand at the intersection where science and humanities meet.

For universities, this means not only building a more open platform where science and the humanities meet, but also carrying out research that helps us understand what New Zealand is good at today and what opportunities and risks might exist tomorrow.

For government, this means setting a very clear strategy for investing in ideas, and embedding foresight in the public sector. Foresight is a critical skill for any country to develop; clever nations monitor change and adapt.

For the Institute, this means running a special three-week scholarship programme in February for three young people who want to stand in the intersection of science and humanities. Sir Paul believed in investing in young people and we want to continue his commitment to the youth in this country. To this end the Institute will run the Science Meets Humanities Scholarship Programme; the three individual scholarships will be dedicated to visionary leaders, the first will be dedicated to the highly respected Futurist Jan Lee Martin. The aim of the programme is to introduce students to interesting people with cool jobs. The first week will involve rediscovering New Zealand by travelling the length of the country meeting interesting people. The second week will be based at the Institute in Wellington, learning from experts how to apply foresight, think strategically, develop scenarios, and prepare business and research proposals. The third week will be spent with a mentor who aligns with their career path. We will make more announcements about this exciting new programme later in the year.

Read the full Think Piece here.