UPDATED 9.27am: The first Chief Science Advisor for the Ministry of Social Development wants to turn research into practical advice.
University of Otago Scientist Professor Richie Poulton has just been appointed to the new role.
And he told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking with scientific evidence, the ministry can effectively help the country's most vulnerable.
"If you are spending taxpayer money, you have to be clever and you have to target your spend on what's most likely to be the most effective in terms of promoting good development."
Poulton says social development is a tough area, but he believes science can make a difference.
"I'm very keen to enter the fray to ensure that evidence and good research by many around the world gets a chance at the top table."