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New fund will link polytechnics with business

23 September 2004

New fund will link polytechnics with business

Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs) can now apply for funding from the ITP Business Links Fund, which received $21.5 million over four years in Budget 2004.

Associate Education Minister Steve Maharey announced the new fund at the ITPNZ “Research That Works” Conference in Hamilton today.

He encouraged institutions to think carefully about how they can build on their links with their core business and professional stakeholders, not just for the coming year but for the next four years of funding.

“The Tertiary Education Commission is expected to approve the first business engagement plans from ITPs early next year,” Steve Maharey said.

“All tertiary education organisations, but particularly institutes of technology and polytechnics, have to become more focused towards the needs of their communities and local economies. If they are aligned to the economic direction of their communities they will be able to contribute more strongly to regional development.

“This is not about making one-off incremental gains from projects that are peripheral to core business. Links to business needs should be one of the core roles for all ITPs.

“While the fund is primarily aimed at working with business, government recognises the importance of greater collaboration between ITPs and other key stakeholders such as industry training organisations. I encourage ITPs to work together to consider how best to access the funding.”

Funding for each ITP will be based on the content of its engagement plan, not the size of the institution. Each ITP will be able to apply for up to a maximum of $300,000 per academic year.

“Next year $5 million of funding will be available, so the average grant will be around $250,000,” Steve Maharey said. “I’m expecting some high quality plans to be put forward.”

Funding from the ITP Business Links Fund will rise to $7 million in 2007.

Funds available
$21.5 million is available over the next four years:
- $5 million in 2005
- $6 million in 2006
- $7 million in 2007
- $3.5 million in 2008 (half-year appropriation)

Allocation process ITPs will submit an initial proposal in the form of an engagement plan, and may request up to $300,000 for each academic year and no less than $100,000 per academic year.

The proposed business-engagement plan will cover a period of at least one year, but can cover up to four academic years.

The Tertiary Education Commission will use an expert panel to: assess the quality of business-engagement plans submitted carry out yearly evaluations of engagement plans in subsequent years.

Business-engagement plans that meet a sufficiently robust standard will receive funding (near the requested level) for up to four academic years. With $5 million funding available next year, the average grant is expected to be around $250,000.

The TEC will not fund engagement plans that are not up to standard and for which negotiations for improvements have not been successful.

Excellent performance may result in an increase in funding.

Timeline Engagement plans need to be supplied to TEC in late October / early November 2004, with funding decisions set to be made in late February 2005.


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