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$20 million ICT Centre of Excellence

12 August 2005

University of Canterbury announces plans for $20 million ICT Centre of Excellence

The University of Canterbury is to establish a multi-million dollar national ICT (Information and Communications Technology) teaching and research facility to support the Government’s vision for New Zealand’s ICT sector.

In 2002 the Government identified ICT as one of three areas having the potential to make the greatest positive impact on the economy. The others were biotech and creative industries.

That same year its ICT Taskforce set a target of 100 New Zealand ICT companies having an annual turnover of $100 million each by 2012, which would see the ICT sector increasing its Gross Domestic Product contribution from 4.3% to 10%.

In a major report the Taskforce, consisting of top technology entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and business leaders, stated that as well as being a sector in its own right ICT is an integral component of every other sector of the New Zealand economy.

But it said the second biggest constraint to growth in the ICT sector, behind a lack of leadership and experience, is a shortage of appropriately educated graduates.

The report of June 2002 said the nearest tertiary-level teaching of certain types of basic undergraduate knowledge is in Australia, and warned that it was imperative that New Zealand took urgent and active measures to ensure an adequate and continuous supply of ICT talent.

The major focus of Canterbury University’s ICT Innovation Institute will be increasing the number of talented graduates for the ICT sector.

As well as producing new entrepreneurial graduates, the environment created by the Institute will generate new start-up companies, attract skilled personnel from overseas and encourage the attention and presence of multinational corporations.

Canterbury University graduates feature prominently in start-up companies developed in recent years. The ICT Innovation Institute will allow the University to make an even greater contribution to the advancement of the ICT sector.

Establishing the Institute will cost close to $20 million.

Because of the significant forward investment required to create this world class purpose-built facility, the project falls outside normal funding criteria and could not be established without direct Government contribution.
The Government, through its Partnerships for Excellence programme, has awarded the University $9.7 million in funding. Nearly 90 percent of the matching funding will be sourced from the private sector.


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