There are moves to forge closer links between universities and business - something which everyone agrees would help the development of a knowledge economy.
Compaq offers scholarships for university students at Canterbury, Otago and Lincoln and Christchurch-based Jade sponsors a chair in e-commerce at Victoria University and a chair in applied computing at Lincoln. Sun agent SolNet is also involved in graduate recruiting (mainly through Massey University) and the government's GRIF scheme (Technology NZ's Graduates in Industry Fellowships).
Auckland University of Technology offers Microsoft's certified professional programme. Microsoft marketing manager Ross Peat says New Zealand has a 71% pass rate of students who sit the Microsoft Certified Engineer exam, in contrast to the US where the pass rate is 58%.
Meanwhile, tertiary institutions such as Auckland's Unitec and Massey University at its Albany campus are forging further links with business through incubators. Howard Frederick, head of Unitec's New Zealand Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and an author of the ITAG Knowledge Economy report, says New Zealand continues to close its eyes to the incubator model. He says figures confirmed by the United Nations show that incubators generate about $45 in local tax revenue for every dollar of public investment and publicly supported incubators create jobs at a cost of $1100 each, whereas other publicly supported job creation schemes usually cost more than $10,000 a job.