In most countries, some form of scientific research is conducted. Some places have stricter rules than others, but everywhere, the research needs to be paid for.
Research is funded by:
Central government funding of science amounts to over 1 billion NZD per year, with total sector spending being about 4.5 billion NZD.1 There does not appear to be any government funding exclusively available for replacing the use of animals in science in NZ.
In 2020 alone, the NZ Government spent around $1.2 billion on research and development in several sectors. NZ businesses spent almost double that. We have no way of knowing how much of this went into the use of animals – we did try and obtain this info with no luck!
Via additional research we conducted, we were able to estimate that some universities spent between 5 to 14% of their research funds on the use of animals for science. Other universities had administration systems that would make this kind of tracking impossible.
Some polytechnics and Institutes of Technology also use animals for science, spending a similar percentage of their research budget on this as NZ universities.
The Ministry for Primary Industries has an annual research and development budget of around 130 million NZD.10
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) states in their 2021 budget investments of 56.12 million NZD over four years into science, research, and innovation.11
The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) allocates general funding to universities based on several education criteria. They allocated nearly 50 million NZD to university research in 2020.12
According to Universities NZ,13 government tuition funding makes up 33% of university funding. Another 15% originates from research grants and other research income.
Foundations, charities and other institutions fund many different types of research. For example, the National Heart Foundation funded research projects with 4.1 million NZD in 2021.14
Dairy NZ regularly funds agricultural research to mitigate emissions, maximise production or minimise fertility issues within the dairy industry. Their last annual report (2021/22) lists research and development costs of 34.2 million NZD.15 There are several other organisations funding agricultural research including Zoetis NZ, the Livestock Improvement Corporation Ltd and Meat & Wool New Zealand Ltd.
Foundations also fund lots of research, mostly specified for one research field, like the Foundation for Arable Research or the New Zealand Neurological Foundation.
More general funding opportunities are given by foundations like the Marsden NHS Foundation Trust or the NZ Foundation of Research Science and Technology.
Scholarships are made available by some organisations, like the C Alma Baker Postgraduate Scholarship or the Colin Holmes Dairy Scholarship.
While we don't know exactly how much funding is invested in animal-based research, we do know how much funding the government, universities, polytechnics and institutes of technology allocate specifically for animal-free Replacements: $0.
Despite intensive research, we couldn't identify a single funding stream dedicated solely to animal-free research.
The only funding, we could find that mentions replacing the use of animals for science is the Aotearoa New Zealand John Schofield Three Rs Award which provides 10,000 NZD every two years for a project that shows “significant commitment to implementing the [3Rs] principles.” This is an award for research that has already been conducted, rather than a fund for researchers to use or develop animal-free research methods. This award is funded by the National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee (NAEAC) and ANZCCART (NZ).16
We’ve been advised that funding for replacing the use of animals in science (or reducing and refining their use) is available via the Ministry for Primary Industries Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures (SFF Futures) fund.17 However, this fund doesn’t mention anything explicit about replacing the use of animals in science.
Other countries are investing millions of dollars into animal-free research.
Noteworthy example: The European Union Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Testing (EURL ECVAM) was set up in 1991. It received approximately 36 million EUR (~ 137.0 million NZD) between 2012 and 2017,23 and continues to get EU funding of around 5 million EUR (~ 8.7 million NZD) yearly.24 EURL ECVAM activities include:
In the US, specific institutions play a role. The Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing has to date invested over 6 million USD (~ 10 million NZD) in over 300 grants for research relating to the replacement of animals. 26
There are many organisations (none of them NZ-based) that provide funding for animal-free research including: