Government to lure R&D entrepreneurs with $35m carrot

The government plans to enter into 50-50 partnerships with individual universities

The government has unveiled a plan to invest $35 million over four years to attract “world-leading entrepreneurial researchers” to New Zealand in a move designed to strengthen universities and the broader innovation ecosystem.

The government plans to enter into 50-50 partnerships with individual universities to attract and support named researchers and their teams to work in the university for an initial period of three to five years.

Announcing the plan, tertiary education, skills and employment minister, Steven Joyce, said: “We are especially wanting to recruit people with an established record in innovation and entrepreneurship in the top ‘maker’ disciplines, to help grow the pipeline of excellent innovative start-up companies in New Zealand, and train the next generation of scientific entrepreneurs.”

“We will invite all the universities to bid for the opportunity, and expect up to 15-20 world-leading researchers and their teams to be brought to New Zealand over a three year period,” the minister added.

“New Zealand’s universities already have a very good reputation for excellence with all eight universities ranked in the top three percent in the world. However it’s a very competitive world out there.

“We need to keep challenging ourselves and keep adding to our hi-tech sector. Entrepreneurial Universities will strengthen our research and start-up capabilities and add to the learning opportunities for our undergraduates.”

Joyce said the move was part of Budget 2016’s $761.4m ‘Innovative New Zealand’ package and would complement big increases in the funds for researchers already based in New Zealand.It follows an approach to the Minister and the Tertiary Education Council earlier this year by the University of Auckland, and will be modelled on other similar programmes around the world including the US and the UK.

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