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'Virtual Institution' Unleashes Research Power

'Virtual Institution' Unleashes Research Power To Small Companies

TAP INTO BRIGHT BRAINS

Some of New Zealand’s brightest brains are ready to help innovative businesses tackle knotty technology problems. The intellectual push-power of world-beating researchers in Crown Research Institutes and universities is available to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) at no cost and in the past two years alone, more than 1500 businesses have taken advantage of this expertise.

The research know-how is accessed through the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology’s TechNet programme, providing technology consultancy to a maximum value of $2000 (incl. GST).

According to Tony Hadfield, of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, the programme has proved to be a valuable first step for companies wrestling with a technological problem.

“We recognised that SMEs often ran up against a particular technological problem which effectively halted their progress,” he says. “It seemed logical to set up a mechanism where these companies could easily tap into the wealth of knowledge contained within our research organisations, to get them over a particular hurdle.”

Technology New Zealand has contracted with a number of research organisations to obtain access for businesses seeking advice about specific technology issues.

Through ‘TechNet’ a group of scientists, technologists and engineers is available to provide advice and consultancy to SMEs operating in New Zealand. This means businesses can tap into some of the most highly specialised brains in the country.

Mr Hadfield says the response from businesses using TechNet expertise varies from “ amazement that something so helpful is provided at no cost to them, through to sheer relief at being able to resolve a technical issue in order to continue on a research or development project.”

The service is available at most CRIs and Universities, as well as a limited number of other research organisations, and businesses interested in making use of a TechNet expert should contact the Commercial Manager at the appropriate institution, or look on the Technology New Zealand website www.technz.co.nz.

-ends-

For more information:

· Tony Hadfield, Technology New Zealand at the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, 04 917 7812, 0274 454 095. www.technz.co.nz

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