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NZ reviews R&D strategy to boost innovation

New Zealand’s Science and Innovation Minister Wayne Mapp has announced a review to see how research and development (R&D) can provide better support to New Zealand’s high-value manufacturing and services sector.

“A thriving, innovative and smart high-value manufacturing and services sector built on R&D will bring immense benefits to New Zealand,” Dr Mapp said.

He noted that high-growth innovation-intensive industries have spear-headed the economic transformation of small economies like Denmark, Finland and Singapore.

These industries he said have helped grow skilled jobs, export revenues, and created a competitive edge in the global marketplace.

The review is being conducted by the Ministry of Science and Innovation (MSI) using an independent panel. It will focus on access to and uptake of R&D by the sector.

It will help inform the development of any further policy initiatives relating to business R&D, commercialisation, technology and knowledge transfer. It will also cover the role that research organisations play in these areas.

“We need researchers to connect with businesses, helping them to develop products, processes and technologies that will succeed on the global market,” he added.

“Science and innovation are the keys to an invigorated sector. For this to happen there needs to be better transfer of R&D from the research sector through to businesses, and for businesses to be investing more in R&D.”

The review panel will report to a steering committee made up of representatives from MSI and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and the Ministry of Economic Development.

The panel comprises Professor John Raine (chair), Professor Mina Teicher and Phil O’Reilly.

Professor Raine is the Head of the School of Engineering and Pro Vice-Chancellor Innovation and Enterprise at the Auckland University of Technology. Professor Teicher is a former Director-General of the Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology, and is widely credited for the development of the innovation sector in Israel. Phil O'Reilly is Chief Executive of BusinessNZ.

The panel will seek input from interested parties, including key people from the business and research communities.

The panel’s recommendations are expected in April.