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The New Zealand pharmaceutical scientist, inventor and social entrepreneur spoke at a fundraising event for the Malcam Charitable Trust in Dunedin yesterday.
Sir Ray's speech focused on the role of business in science, as well as New Zealand's often under-appreciated contribution to global science.
"We are very, very bad at saying how good we are at things and many don't recognise the contribution scientists in New Zealand have on a global scale. There is a great value of us, as a thinking and creative nation," he told the Otago Daily Times.
He touched on the role of science in the future "for the planet and its species".
"Scientists and technologists are the ones that will actually forge the future and we will rely really heavily on those people. We should start talking to them in a business sense about the role of business in science and vice-versa," he said.
Malcam Trust founder and chief executive Malcolm Cameron helped bring Sir Ray to Dunedin, in collaboration with organisers of the New Zealand International Science Festival 2012.
Mr Cameron said he had known Sir Ray for about six years and admired his skills as a speaker, as well as his scientific success.
"People are talking about science, technology and maths as the drivers of the future and he is right in there," Mr Cameron said.
About 70 people, including Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull, attended the fundraising lunch at Technique Training Restaurant.
Trust funds were alsobolstered with a silent auction of four sporting items, including signed artwork by All Blacks Ma'a Nonu and Richard Kahui.
Lunch at Technique with two Highlanders was also auctioned, as well as an Otago Volts shirt signed by six players including the McCullum brothers.