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More funding to help commercialise our smart ideas

8 March 2006

More funding to help commercialise our smart ideas

Twelve tertiary sector-based projects aimed at increasing the opportunities for the commercialisation of bright ideas have been awarded almost $11 million over the next three years, Minister for Tertiary Education Dr Michael Cullen announced today.

"If we are to transform New Zealand into a high wage, knowledge-based economy we must encourage greater collaboration between the tertiary education sector and industry.

“These projects do that by making it easier for tertiary education organisations to work with businesses in the design, information and communications technology, and biotechnology sectors.

“This kind of help increases the chances of commercialising more of our ideas and innovations here in New Zealand. And if our researchers and scientists and innovators in the private sector see their smart ideas reach commercial potential it also increases the chances of retaining our most skilled," said Dr Cullen.

The projects have been funded from the Tertiary Education Commission’s (TEC) Growth and Innovation Pilot Initiatives.

“Through initiatives such as Growth Pilots, the government encourages tertiary education organisations and businesses to build connections, share knowledge and expertise, and develop entrepreneurial and commercial skills,” Dr Cullen said.
Among the projects receiving funding:

- Canterbury University and Lincoln University are jointly receiving $2.4m. This will be spent bringing in private sector biotechnology science entrepreneurs to teach students and researchers, improving courses to prepare students for the commercial world and appointing entrepreneurial research experts.

- Auckland University is receiving $1.7m to improve opportunities for innovation in the high technology manufacturing sector. This will assist the development of courses for design students and to improve the ability of small and medium-sized businesses to tap into the design expertise of tertiary organisations.

"We need to lift our game in bringing innovations into the commercial world and these projects continue the good progress we are making," concluded Dr Cullen.

For more information on the Growth and Innovation Pilots and the latest recipients:
http://www.tec.govt.nz/funding/strategic/growthpilot/growth_pilot.htm.

**********

Background information:

The Growth and Innovation Pilot Initiatives scheme was the government's response to recommendations of its industry sector taskforces. The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) first funded projects within this initiative in June 2004.

In 2003 the government approved almost $30 million for Growth Pilots funding over five years. To date the TEC has approved more than $17 million for 31 projects including the 12 announced today.

The TEC allocates Growth Pilot funding to tertiary education organisations on a contestable basis, using an external panel of industry and tertiary sector experts to make recommendations on funding applications. The TEC Board of Commissioners makes the final funding decisions.

ENDS


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