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Project GDP to bring research & dev. benefits

3 December 2004 Media release

Project GDP to bring research and development benefits

Small to medium sized businesses are expected to reap the benefits from a project run by the Wellington based Crown Research Institute Industrial Research Ltd (IRL). Project GDP aims to bring researchers, scientists and small to medium sized enterprises, with science needs closer together.

"I'm delighted that Project GDP is up and running with the support of $106,875 from the Sector Initiative Fund," Jim Anderton said on visiting Industrial Research Ltd today.

The work is being carried out with project teams from the Wellington Institute of Technology (WelTec) and Manukau Institute of Technology.

“Surveys have found that small firms are less likely than larger firms to undertake research and development activities, even though they have great potential to lead to improved productivity and the production of new and value added goods. This project will help smaller firms realise their growth potential, while at the same time provide students and staff with real business issues to grapple with,” Jim Anderton said.

Since March 2003 IRL has worked in collaboration with WelTec and the Manukau Institute of Technology to investigate a mechanism to support SME's (small to medium enterprises) research and development requirements.

CEO of Industrial Research, Nigel Kirkpatrick, said "Project GDP brings manufacturers with science needs together with the technology institutes under the supervision of the IRL scientists.

“Project GDP enables companies to take product development to a whole new level,” he said.

SMEs can take advantage of research and development activities while maintaining their focus on current production while the participating learning institutions gain access to practical learning experiences and develop a closer relationship with the local business community.

Project GDP falls outside of the normal business strategy of IRL and its partners and is not an activity for which IRL is currently funded.

The Minister for Industry and Regional Development and the Minister of Finance approved a grant of $106,875 (inc GST) from the Sector Initiatives Fund (SIF) to IRL to fund activities associated with Project GDP for the current financial year. Other costs associated with the project will be met by IRL and the participating learning institutions.

Sector Initiatives Fund

The purpose of the SIF is to provide support for industry projects that are consistent with economic, social and environmental objectives but cannot be funded through other government assistance programmes. Priority for funding will be given to proposals that:

- Are identified as key contributors to the implementation of sector strategies being developed in partnership with industry, through New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and the Ministry of Economic Development;
- Are supported by key stakeholders such as industry and local government; and
- Have the potential for wider cross-industry application of benefits, for example infrastructure.

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