Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


NZ govt seeks to double private sector R&D by 2025

NZ govt science plan seeks to double private sector R&D by 2025

By Paul McBeth

Oct. 5 (BusinessDesk) - The government is ready to spend more on direct research grants to businesses to meet an "aspirational" target of doubling private sector research and development spending over the next 10 years, despite feedback from the business community that it would rather get tax breaks.

The 10-year national science plan was launched at the Royal Society of New Zealand in Wellington by Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce, who committed to raise government spending on R&D to 0.8 percent of gross domestic product from 0.65 percent at present.

Private sector R&D, at 0.5 to 0.6 percent of GDP was "particularly low', compared to other small, advanced economies.

"The government's aspirational goal to raise it to 1 percent of GDP by 2025 is critical to boost New Zealand's productivity and through that, improve well-being," the document says.

The government will increase funding for business growth grants, administered by Callaghan Innovation, which is tasked to accelerate growth in high-value manufacturing and services, and is considering a boost for pure scientific research through the Marsden Fund.

MBIE's bridge funding between pure and commercial science will also be merged as a single fund by bundling together the six existing sector-specific funds as a single portfolio.

"We expect a single fund to provide greater predictability of opportunity: scientists will be able to bid every year, and will not have to wait until money becomes available from expiring contracts in their particular field," the paper said.

In submissions on the draft statement, funding agency Callaghan attracted largely negative submissions on the way it administers funds, with concerns over the lack of links between the Crown entity and industry. Submitters also tended to see the lack of business incentives for R&D as a negative, with economic levers or incentives, such as tax breaks, seen as the best way to encourage industry co-investment.

Evaluation of the impact of R&D spending will accompany commitments to increased resources.

"Those commitments are real, but with that increased investment comes a need for greater accountability," Joyce said. "Regular comprehensive sector-wide evaluation of how different parts of our science system are succeeding will help us move beyond our own, by necessity, subjective views of what should be funded next, to dare I say it, a more science-based approach to funding our science system."

Seeking improvements in international collaboration, the government will reorganise MBIE's international funds into four funding streams following a review recommending clearer objectives, a simpler structure, better reporting, and capturing longer-term outcomes.

The government aims to manage risk in its portfolio better, with a clearer role as an investor, because too much R&D funding is currently focused on "low-risk projects with more certain short-term impacts," the paper said. The Crown will continue to take a lead role in investigator-led research, which typically has an unclear direction at the outset, and will consider increasing funding to the Marsden Fund if fiscal conditions allow.

"The most significant market failure occurs in investigator-led discovery research," the document said. "Given government's role as the primary investor in investigator-led research, this points to focusing a greater proportion of additional investment at the discovery end over time."

Other initiatives will see the introduction of regional research institutes, and funding reviews for Crown Research Institutes and the Health Research Council.

Some $1 million has been earmarked for MBIE to attract investment from multi-national companies.

(BusinessDesk receives funding from Callaghan Innovation to assist coverage of the commercialisation of innovation)


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Foodstuffs: New World & Four Square Trial NZ’s First Grocery Delivery Offer With Uber Eats

New World & Four Square have partnered with Uber Eats to unlock the first grocery offering available on the platform in Aotearoa. For New World and Four Square it’s yet another way to put New Zealanders first, particularly with those inevitable last-minute grocery needs... More>>

Digitl: Download 2.0 – Vodafone Wi-Fi Calling hits early milestone
Vodafone says it has 10,000 customers using its Wi-Fi Calling service. It took less than three months to reach that milestone; the service began operating in September... More>>

Energy Resources Aotearoa: New Law On Decommissioning Could Be Costly Overkill
A new law on decommissioning oil and gas fields passed by Parliament today has good intentions but is overkill, according to Energy Resources Aotearoa. "We strongly support operators taking responsibility and paying the costs for decommissioning, which is what all good operators do," says chief executive John Carnegie... More>>

ABC Business Sales: Demand High For Covid-proof Businesses
Despite the continuing challenges facing businesses in this Covid environment, right now there are more buyers looking for a small-medium sized business than there are sellers in the market... More>>

PriceSpy: Producer Prices Increase
New Black Friday and Covid-19 Report* released by PriceSpy says people’s fear of stepping inside physical shops during big sales events like Black Friday has risen since last year; Kiwis are still planning to shop, but more than ever will do it online this year... More>>

NZ Skeptics Society: Announce Their 2021 Awards, And Dr Simon Thornley Wins The Bent Spoon

Every year the New Zealand Skeptics presents its awards to people and organisations who have impressed us or dismayed us, and this year it’s been hard to pick our winners because there have been so many choices!.. More>>

REINZ: Sales Volumes Leveling Out

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) shows there were 44 fewer lifestyle property sales (-2.6%) for the three months ended October 2021 than for the three months ended September 2021... More>>