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Search for research and development opportunities underway

Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) is on the lookout to discover and attract more international research and development (R&D) teams to the district.

QLDC Economic Development Manager Peter Harris says the idea to explore further possibilities stemmed from the success of the Southern Hemisphere Proving Grounds (SHPG).

“SHPG has carved a niche for themselves in automotive testing so we thought there might be other industries that could benefit from basing an R&D team here,” Mr Harris said.

“We have an open mind about which industries could have potential but people have already suggested we look at the ski, telecommunication and energy industries.”

Tom Elworthy, managing director of Southern Hemisphere Proving Ground, supports the work.

“We host over 500 automotive R&D staff here each winter. Not only do we offer them the chance to do winter testing in their summer season, they love visiting because we are a safe, fun, internationally connected district. There must be other industries that could be testing equipment here,” said Mr Elworthy.

The project, which is supported by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, is part of an ongoing effort to diversify the economy from its reliance on tourism – a goal identified in the Queenstown Lakes economic development strategy.

QLDC is keen to hear from any locals who have ideas to add to the list of industries and technologies that could benefit from being based here.

“If someone has experience and contacts in an industry that we should look into I would love to hear from them,” Mr Harris said.

“If we get a good list of possibilities we’ll work on a plan for how we might attract them to the district,” he said.


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