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Industry in NZ lacks R&D capability opportunities

Industry in NZ lacks capability to take-up R&D opportunities

The New Zealand pool of New Zealanders with the skills and expertise to utilise innovation in industries is too small, and therefore under-utilised, says a review published by the Institution of Professional Engineers, New Zealand (IPENZ).

This lack of R&D understanding capability within industry is one of the fundamental problems preventing New Zealand’s return to the top ten of the OECD.

The publication entitled: “A Review of National Policies for Fostering Research, Development, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in New Zealand”, presented by Andrew Cleland, IPENZ Chief Executive, makes new suggestions for fostering sustainable economic growth. improving the way in which we create sustainable growth.

The review states one of the fundamental problems for inhibiting New Zealand’s sustainable economic growth is the limited relationship between the research sector and industry. The linkages between market opportunity and the R&D perfomed are far too weak. This is probably the worst shortfall in our research, development, innovation and entrepreneurship system as a whole, said Dr Cleland.

“Industries do not have the skills to take–up innovation. We need to encourage strategic technology transfer partnerships between industry and the research sector to counter this problem,” said Dr Cleland.

“Increasing personnel transfer between industry and the research sector would achieve two things – improve the commercial benefits for industry, and create opportunities for new talent to grow in our CRI’s and universities, rather than leave New Zealand.

“The current culture in New Zealand is to retain the talents of our researchers in organisations such as Crown Research Institutes and universities, instead of encouraging them into industry.

“For example in the United States a PhD in engineering has an expectation of moving into industry with his or her technology and then working up through that industry to a senior management role. In comparison the job prospects of PhD holders in NZ are modest – there is little movement of researchers from CRI’s and universities to industry, so vacancies are not created for others to commence or develop their careers.

Dr Cleland will present this review at a breakfast meeting to the Wellington business community. (Wednesday, 2 June 2004).


Background notes:
A Review of National Policies for Fostering Research, Development, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in New Zealand

Dr Andrew Cleland is the Chief Executive of the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand, (IPENZ) the professional body for engineers in New Zealand.

IPENZ is continuing an engineering tradition by contributing to key national issues. This is in common with the international engineering bodies that are frequently perceived as key players in the economic development of a country due to their expertise in technology transfer.

IPENZ offers this review as an independent commentator.

The review takes a long-term perspective and concentrates on the long-term needs of New Zealand, and not the short-term performance of any particular Government. As a professional body, IPENZ does not have the research capacity to fully research all the proposals made in this review – we hope that others will be motivated by what they read here to take up this task.

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