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IRL Chief suggests Advanced Technology Research Institute

Media Release
14 April 2011

IRL Chief suggests establishment of Advanced Technology Research Institute for NZ

IRL Chief Executive Shaun Coffey is calling for the creation of an advanced technology innovation enterprise to boost New Zealand's important high value manufacturing sector - and proposing that IRL is uniquely positioned to lead such a bold new endeavour.

Shaun Coffey, who addressed the Metals NZ 2011 conference in Wellington today, says that to overcome persistent barriers to growth such as a poorly developed innovation ecosystem, low levels of direct private sector R&D investment, and a paucity of resources for R&D agencies, the government needs to create a lead agency that will champion technological innovation, deliver industry development and enhance technological capability.

"With our track record of industry engagement, solid revenue growth, and world class technological expertise, IRL is uniquely placed to be the foundation of this new, national institute," he says.

The new enterprise, with an expanded presence in Auckland and Christchurch, would be renamed and have a greatly increased role in co-ordinating efforts across the whole science, engineering and commercialisation ecosystem related to manufacturing and services.

To give it the requisite scale to meet this challenge, Crown funding could be reallocated to enable it to double its size within four years, Shaun Coffey says.

"Growth in this manner will provide a solid base from which to build a growing and dynamic high value manufacturing sector," he says.

The new, national enterprise would build on IRL's demonstrated success in industry engagement and solid revenue growth, and be required to leverage its core funding to achieve real industry commitment. Leverage would be ramped up over a period of time leading to further organic growth - with the objective of growing the advanced technology innovation enterprise to three times the present IRL configuration within 6-8 years.

"IRL, now in its fourth year of revenue growth, has proven itself a responsible investment for government and is thus uniquely positioned to lead the creation of this bold new enterprise aimed at stimulating innovation, and bringing together New Zealand's business ecosystem around technology" Shaun Coffey says.

IRL's proposal is outlined in its submission to the government's high value manufacturing review, which you can read here.

ENDS

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