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Hodgson welcomes major new research partnerships

Wednesday 11 December 2002 Media Statement

Hodgson welcomes major new research partnerships

The announcement today of funding for four major research consortia is a significant new step for New Zealand's science and innovation system, says Minister of Research, Science and Technology Pete Hodgson.

The government's research funding agency, the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, has approved funding for four research partnerships involving major private sector companies and research organisations. The private sector is providing up to $44 million over the next five to seven years to match about $33.5 million of public funding.

“In the last Budget the government introduced consortium funding for research, to foster partnerships at international level, between the public and private sectors, and between government agencies," said Mr Hodgson. "We did this because collaboration can be just as important as competition for success in the knowledge economy. Experience has shown that strong interaction and linkages between agencies and sectors are essential to an efficient innovation system.”

The Foundation sought proposals from firms and science providers for the consortium funding. The four successful consortia announced today involve 23 firms or organisations from New Zealand and some international partners. The research areas are:

- Pastoral Genomics, aimed at further development of a technology platform around clover genomics - a key piece of New Zealand “s pastoral intellectual property;

- LactoPharma research, designed to develop a biomedical technology platform based on targeted bioprospecting of active compounds found in milk, with possible relevance to diseases including osteoporosis and asthma;

- The Wood Quality Initiative, focusing on technology for assessing the quality of wood right through the forestry and forest products value chain;

- Pastoral Greenhouse Gas research, designed to help New Zealand meet its obligations under the Kyoto Protocol by developing on-farm technologies to lower emissions and exploit any commercial opportunities arising.

“The direction and focus of these projects reflects both the government's priorities and the interests of research consortium partners," Mr Hodgson said. “By getting companies, research organisations and government agencies working together on large and complex research projects we have identified high-value projects with excellent potential to produce tangible benefits for New Zealand."

Further proposals for a meat biologics consortium and an information and communications technology (ICT) consortium are under development.


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