Budget 2012: Govt to spend $166m on Advanced Technology Institute

New funding to be paid over four years to help high-tech businesses

Announced in the government's budget today is an allotment of $166 million towards developing an Advanced Technology Institute (ATI).

To be paid out over four years, the funding is aimed at growing New Zealand's technology exports.

Prime Minister John Key foreshadowed the announcement of an ATI in November last year following the release of the ‘Powering Innovation’ report by the soon-to-be-disbanded Ministry of Science and Innovation. The report recommended the establishment of an Institute based on Industrial Research Ltd, a Crown Research Institute in Wellington with additional sites in Auckland and Christchurch.

The investment in the ATI is part of a $326 million boost for science, innovation, and research says Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce. This consists of $250 million of new operating funding and $76.1 million in capital funding over four years.

“Science and technological innovation are major drivers of growth and international competitiveness, which is why we have continued to increase funding for them despite tight fiscal constraints,” Joyce says in a media statement.

New funding over the next four years includes:

  • $90 million operating funding and $76.1 million capital funding to create the Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) to work with the high-tech manufacturing and services sector.
  • $60 million operating funding for National Science Challenges to find innovative solutions to some of the most fundamental issues facing New Zealand.
  • $100 million additional research funding (from Vote Tertiary Education) by increasing the size of the Performance-Based Research Fund to $300 million by 2016.

Finance Minister Bill English says Budget 2012 heralds an increase in science and innovation funding across government to more than $1.3 billion a year by 2015/16.

This year Budget 2012 announcements could be found on the NZ Budget app which is designed to work on Android phones and tablets, iPhones, and iPads. The screenshot below was taken from an iPhone.

English says the cost of the app was funded through reduced printing costs. It was developed in less than four weeks for the Treasury by Wellington company PaperKite.

“This is an example of a government agency resetting its priorities to keep up with changing public demand,” English says.

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