Budget 2015: Govt pledges $80 million boost for R&D funding

“New Zealand businesses have responded positively to this initiative, with 152 hi-tech companies so far awarded growth grants of up to $356 million."

Innovative Kiwi businesses investing in research and development (R&D) will benefit from a boost in funding for Callaghan Innovation as part of Budget 2015, Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce announced today.

The Government will invest another $80 million over four years in R&D growth grants, administered by Callaghan, to encourage more private sector research and development and grow New Zealand’s R&D ecosystem.

Growth grants are aimed at bringing New Zealand’s levels of private R&D investment and innovation closer to those of the country's major trading partners.

“The new funding is equivalent to a 14 percent increase in Callaghan Innovation’s total annual R&D grants budget and adds to the $566m committed over four years for R&D grants in Budget 2013," Joyce says.

“New Zealand businesses have responded positively to this initiative, with 152 hi-tech companies so far awarded growth grants of up to $356 million.

"That will in turn support business spend on R&D of up to $1.5 billion over three years. This is a crucial part of our efforts to boost levels of private R&D spend in New Zealand and lift innovation.

"A strong emphasis on R&D helps to diversify and strengthen the New Zealand economy and ensure New Zealand companies remain competitive internationally.

"That in turn helps lift New Zealand’s export revenues, job numbers, and the incomes of Kiwi families."

A range of industries are demonstrating increased R&D activity, Joyce says, with the top two industries by grant value in 2013/14 manufacturing at 54 percent, and information and communications technology at 23 percent.

Growth grants meet 20 percent of the cost of an eligible firm’s R&D programme - to qualify, a business must commit to spending at least $300,000, and at least 1.5 percent of revenue, a year on R&D occurring in New Zealand.

The growth grants are one of a suite of business innovation services provided through Callaghan Innovation, which include R&D Project Grants for smaller companies and those new to R&D, and R&D Student Grants that give graduates the opportunity to work in innovative companies.

The Government’s total investment in science will amount to almost $1.5 billion in 2015/16 – a 70 percent increase in eight years.

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