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NZs' Science and Technology Capability Showcased

New Zealand’s Science and Technology Capability Showcased at APEC Event

Wellington, 19 November 2003 - There is keen interest in next year’s New Zealand-hosted meeting of Science Ministers from APEC economies, with New Zealand’s track record for innovation in science and technology believed to be a strong drawcard.

The 4th APEC Ministers Meeting on Regional Science and Technology Co-operation will be held in Christchurch next March, along with a number of associated high level events. The week-long programme is expected to attract influential politicians, research and development leaders, business people and media from around the APEC region.

A number of countries have already indicated they will send a strong delegation, and in some cases more than one Minister, to the event. This includes the United States, Australia, Japan, Korea, Thailand, China, Chinese Taipei and Brunei Darussalam.

Dr Helen Anderson, Chief Executive of the Ministry of Research, Science & Technology, which is organising the APEC meeting, says hosting the meeting gives New Zealand the opportunity to play a key role in furthering regional science co-operation.

“There is huge value out of the international regional co-operation made possible by the APEC relationship.”

In addition, Dr Anderson says, New Zealand is increasingly seen as a producer of smart science and leading edge technologies.

“It’s partly because we have made science and innovation a high priority for economic development but is also due to the strong reputation New Zealand exporters have built up for quality and fresh ideas,” she says.

‘We’re expecting high attendance from APEC economies who want to discuss regional co-operation in science and technology and also take a first hand look at some of the innovations coming out of New Zealand.”

To connect international researchers, business and investment partners with world class New Zealand companies, an Innovation Showcase is also being organised by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, the New Zealand Government’s trade and economic development agency.

The Innovation Showcase has been developed to provide a series of commercial opportunities for attending APEC Business Delegations and will involve some of New Zealand’s leading biotechnology, information and communication technology, creative and niche manufacturing businesses. The programme includes an exhibition, pre-arranged business meetings and site visits for pre-qualified international business delegates, a symposia and a variety of informal sector-based site visits to organisations in and around Christchurch.

The Research and Development Leaders Forum will also run alongside the meeting of APEC Ministers, bringing together top executives from the private and public research sectors within the APEC region and further afield.

The event will give research and development leaders an unprecedented opportunity to influence decision making because, for the first time, R & D leaders will be able to sit down with APEC Science Ministers and have direct input into their thinking, says Forum Convenor Anthony Scott, who is the Executive Director of New Zealand’s Association of Crown Research Institutes.

“This is a unique opportunity for R & D leaders to influence the way in which the knowledge gained through scientific research is used to benefit the health, wealth and welfare of societies in the APEC region. These two influential groups will be able to discuss face-to-face how science and technology can create value and how we can do it better across the APEC region.”
Journalists and science writers from around the APEC region are also being invited to attend.
APEC Project Co-ordinator Dr Wynn Ingram says bringing key policy makers, scientists, business people and investors together for a week, provides exciting opportunities for partnerships and collaborations.

“For a week Christchurch will be home to movers and shakers from all over the Asia Pacific region. It will be a fantastic time to meet people, form relationships and build networks.”

The last meeting of APEC Science Ministers was held in Mexico in 1998. The overall theme of the 2004 meeting is Enhancing the capacity of science, technology and innovation to deliver sustainable growth across the APEC region.

The Minister of Research, Science & Technology the Hon. Pete Hodgson will Chair the APEC meeting with the Hon. Steve Maharey leading the New Zealand delegation.

Full Programmes and Speaker Details available at
www.apecscience2004.org.nz

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