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Accelerating growth from publicly funded R&D

Hon Pete Hodgson
Minister of Research, Science and Technology

Accelerating growth from publicly funded R&D

The government is creating a new fund to accelerate the commercial development of innovations in publicly funded research.

The Pre-Seed Accelerator Fund will have more than $19 million over the next four years to invest in pre-seed projects – those that fall between grant-funded research and the seed stage of development, where venture capital and other sources of private sector funding cut in.

Pre-seed development typically includes activities such as experimental development, intellectual property protection, market validation and business case development.

"The government has been looking closely at the internationally-recognised problem of getting innovations through the 'valley of death' between discovery and investment readiness," Research, Science and Technology Minister Pete Hodgson said. "In discussions with leaders in research and development finance we have found widespread agreement that there is a funding gap at the pre-seed stage of R&D — in both the public and the private sectors.

"The private sector pre-seed gap will largely be dealt with by extending eligibility for the Technology for Business Growth Scheme, which is managed by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology. The Pre-Seed Accelerator Fund is designed to address the public sector pre-seed gap. It will be open to Crown Research Institutes, tertiary education institutions and their subsidiaries.

"We expect this fund to encourage an increase in the skill and focus that public research institutions apply to commercialisation, as well as increasing the finance available. Partnerships are the key and the Pre-Seed Accelerator Fund will build them by providing grants to cover a third of the cost of pre-seed projects, the remainder to come from any suitable combination of private sector co-investment and research provider funds."

Budget 2003 also includes a capital provision of $12 million that will be available to public research institutions to support investment in commercialisation of publicly funded R&D.


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