Another bucket of science funding – $35m provided for Entrepreneurial Universities

While scientists may wonder if the Government is doing everything it can to keep good people from taking their expertise and knowledge overseas, the Government has come up with a programme – and funding – to lure overseas scientists to this country.

Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce has announced a $35 million investment over four years for ‘Entrepreneurial Universities’, an initiative to attract world-leading entrepreneurial researchers to New Zealand to further strengthen our universities and “our broader fast-growing innovation ecosystem”.

The programme aims to encourage more of the world’s leading researchers and their teams to locate their labs here and base themselves in New Zealand, Mr Joyce said.

“We are especially wanting to recruit people with an established record in innovation and entrepreneurship in the top ‘maker’ disciplines, to help grow the pipeline of excellent innovative start-up companies in New Zealand, and train the next generation of scientific entrepreneurs.”

Up to 15-20 world-leading researchers and their teams were expected to be brought here over a three year period, he said.

The Entrepreneurial Universities programme will involve the Government entering into a 50/50 partnership with individual universities to attract and support named researchers and their teams to work in the university for an initial period of three to five years.

All the universities will be invited to bid for the opportunity.

The programme follows an approach to Mr Joyce and the the Tertiary Education Commission earlier this year by the University of Auckland and will be modelled on similar programmes around the world including the USA and Britain.

The initiative is part of Budget 2016’s $761.4 million “Innovative New Zealand” package and will complement increases in the funds for researchers already based here in New Zealand.

Mr Joyce said:

“Across the Marsden Fund, the Endeavour Fund, the Catalyst Fund, the Health Research Council, and other associated investment mechanisms, the government is investing an extra $410 million over the next four years in New Zealand science. The Entrepreneurial Universities fund will add another dimension to that comprehensive investment.”

He said Entrepreneurial Universities is consistent with the National Statement of Science Investment and is a key initiative in the Innovation stream of the Business Growth Agenda.

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