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Government’s Advanced Technology Institute proposal welcomed

Government’s Advanced Technology Institute proposal welcomed

The Wellington Regional Strategy Committee today welcomed the announcement of the Establishment Board for the government’s Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) which identifies the Wellington region as one of the three key locations for the institute.

The WRS Committee noted that the ATI will have a strong business-focus, linking a broad range of support services, and working across all phases of business development. The WRS Committee believes the ATI will benefit greatly from leveraging the strong research capability that is already present in the Wellington region.

Greater Wellington Regional Council Chair Fran Wilde says “The WRS Committee and all the Wellington region councils welcome the ATI proposal. The establishment of the ATI and its presence in the Wellington region completely aligns with the recently refreshed Wellington Regional Strategy. One of Wellington’s six focus areas is on progressing science, developing technology-driven innovation, and enabling the commercialisation of innovation.”

The Mayor of Lower Hutt Ray Wallace says the presence of ATI in Lower Hutt supports international best practice. “Business gets the best results from research and development support when it is located in the same region. The Wellington region has well-proven science capabilities in clusters of Crown Research Institutes, independent research bodies, and universities. This is matched by industry strengths across sectors, including food & beverage, ICT, health technologies,” Mayor Wallace says.

“Having on-the-ground ATI capability in the Wellington region is critical to helping the new economy continue to grow and becoming more internationally competitive. It is also critical to the success of a networked ATI model across the country. That’s a win for Wellington, and a win for the entire New Zealand economy,” says Wellington City Mayor Celia Wade Brown. “Some of the fastest growing companies in Wellington are in the ICT sector and our scientific institutes contain a deep pool of knowledge.”

The Wellington region is well recognised for its research capabilities in other high-value sectors. Research into the area of super conductors, for example, will be retained within other local research organisations as part of a distributed innovation model. While super conductors are not part of the proposed ATI model, the work in this area will encourage complementary benefits for the R&D ecosystem in Wellington and could be included in the longer term work of the ATI.

Fran Wilde noted that “One of the key success factors for the ATI will be matching the needs of business with the ATI’s research capability. Grow Wellington, the regional economic development agency, has spent the past five years developing strong links between research institutions and the business community across the greater Wellington region. Grow Wellington is ideally placed to continue facilitating these relationships in the proposed ATI model.”

The Establishment Board for the ATI has just been announced, with the ATI aiming to be operational by December 2012.

The WRS Committee welcomes the opportunity to meet and work with the ATI Establishment Board at an early stage in its development, and to progress a Wellington presence and a programme that is relevant to the Wellington region and the NZ economy.

Background information
The Wellington Regional Strategy Committee is a committee of Greater Wellington Regional Council. Its members comprise the mayors of each of the region’s territorial authorities and four independent members appointed for their specialist skills and expertise. More information on this committee can be found at www.wrs.govt.nz.


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