The $166 million Advanced Technology Institute – an important plank in government’s efforts to stimulate technology exports – is to be named after the respected scientist Sir Paul Callaghan, who died earlier this year.
The exact name by which the institute is to be known has not yet been settled. This will be worked through with ATI’s establishment board and announced “in the coming weeks”, says a statement by science and innovation minister Steven Joyce.
“Sir Paul championed the idea that science could make New Zealand a better place,” Joyce says.
“He believed that science was not only about great ideas, but about getting value from those ideas through innovation and commercialisation. Those views exactly reflect the ambition of the institute, so there can be few more appropriate names.”
Joyce has also announced that NZ Qualifications Authority chair Sue Suckling will lead the seven-member establishment board, tasked with having the ATI up and running by the end of the year.
Other board members are Industrial Research Ltd (IRL) Chair Michael Ludbrook, Plant and Food Research Chair Michael Ahie, IRL board member Richard Janes, entrepreneur Neville Jordan, Auckland Transport director Paul Lockey, and Australian company director Michele Allan.
The ATI, built on the core of the IRL Crown Research Institute, is intended to become a one-stop shop that will help high-tech firms become more competitive by better connecting them with innovation and business development expertise within the Institute, around the country, and internationally. Digital technologies are identified as among its strengths.
“It will focus on industries with significant growth potential such as food and beverage manufacturing, agri-technologies, digital technologies, health technologies and therapeutics manufacturing, and high-value wood products. This will encourage innovation, competition and greater commercialisation in these sectors,” Joyce says.
“The ATI will take over some business development functions that currently sit within the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. That will include the administration of some business research and development grants,” he says.