RSI report published, and it’s beautiful

27 October, 2021

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The Minister of Research, Science and Innovation Megan Woods, has launched a ‘state of the nation’ report on the performance of New Zealand’s research, science and innovation system.

We worked closely with staff from the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to produce the report. This is the first time it has been presented in a digital format. See the 2021 Research, Science and Innovation Report.

The report is based on data from a range of sources, including Stats NZ, Tertiary Education Commission, government investment and OECD data. It features a commentary on the data, dual language section headers, information panels and case studies. Responses made to the COVID-19 pandemic from MBIE and from scientists are highlighted throughout.

Producing the report involved a team of four staff from MBIE as well as front-end development, design, data science and content writing from Dragonfly. Iggy Menzies was closely involved in the data management.

“The team we were working with at MBIE has fairly mature R and data management capability. We worked with their existing data cleaning and QA scripts and wrapped these into a reproducible pipeline that is able to rebuild the report website in minutes, starting from the raw data.”

This approach enabled the MBIE analysts to easily and safely update the data during the development process, using scripts they were already familiar with.

“The front end of the report really brings the numbers to life. It looks beautiful – including on mobile devices. The graphs are really responsive, and many allow you to display data in different ways. All the data can also be downloaded for further analysis.”

An example of the beautiful charts
An example of the beautiful charts

Case studies throughout demonstrate what the funding achieves in practical terms. “It’s easy for the reality of science funding to get lost in the data. The diversity of case studies shows how research is tied to interesting questions related to people, situations and important issues facing New Zealand.”

Iggy says the investment made in the back end infrastructure will enable updates and new releases of the report to be made very easily. The work has also built capability at MBIE.

“More data is always being collected. Because we built a reproducible reporting system, new data can be ingested seamlessly through the same QA processes and appear as another dot on the graph. That’s a very efficient way to work.”

See media release from Hon Dr Megan Woods, Minister of Research, Science and Innovation.