Posts Tagged ‘Callaghan Innovation’

Science gets more Budget funding – but there other snouts in the innovation trough

The word “science” popped up twice in the Budget speech (HERE) delivered by Finance Minister Steven Joyce today.

Hopes would have been raised by Mr Joyce being a former Minister of Scienc and Innovation and of his mentioning his first Budget’s investment of $1 billion over four years “in sustaining the strong economic plan that is getting New Zealand to grow”.

First, he said, the Government is allocating $373 million in the second round of its Innovative New Zealand programme.

Good-oh. That’s where the science money comes from.

Let these words from the Budget speech explain it:

“Innovative New Zealand is a series of science, R&D and skills initiatives that are working together to lift the innovation activity of New Zealand companies.

“The funding includes $82 million for the Government’s pre-eminent applied science fund – the Endeavour fund; $132 million for Tertiary Education to ensure young New Zealanders obtain the skills we need; and $75 million for Callaghan Innovation’s R&D grants to help our tech companies succeed.

“It’s all about adding more value to our export volumes. Investment in innovation is hugely important for lifting our productivity and providing for our future prosperity.”

The two mentions of science can be found in the first of those three paragraphs.

Mr Joyce went on to say $134 million over four years was being allocated to advance New Zealand’s Trade Agenda 2030, including opening new embassies in Dublin and Colombo, “as we work towards our ambitious target of having 90 per cent of goods exports covered by trade agreements”.

There is $304 million towards the ongoing development of our screen sector, and $146 million in new funding to grow our tourism infrastructure around the country so every region can benefit from the growth in our tourism industry.

The Budget speech also mentioned $93 million in new Maori development initiatives, including $10 million to support the development of Māori tourism, and $17 million for Māori housing initiatives.

Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith on May 10 announced the additional $74.6 million in funding through the Innovative New Zealand programme in Budget 2017 (HERE) to meet the growing demand for Callaghan Innovation’s research and development (R&D) Growth Grants.

Today he made a further announcement (HERE), fleshing out Mr Joyce’s mention of an additional $81.9 million of new operating funding over four years to support high-impact, mission-led programmes of science through the Endeavour Fund.

The new funding lifts the Government’s total investment through the Endeavour Fund, New Zealand’s largest contestable science fund, to $829.2 million over the next four years.

The Endeavour Fund complements the Government’s other investments in mission-led science.

“Budget 2017 demonstrates the Government’s ongoing commitment to delivering on the vision set out in the National Statement of Science Investment, to create a highly dynamic science system that enriches New Zealand, making a more visible, measurable contribution to our productivity through excellent science,” Mr Goldsmith said.

The Budget adds $255.6 million over four years of funding for science and innovation, growing total Government investment in science and innovation by 26 per cent from $1.32 billion in 2015 to $1.66 billion by 2021. This builds on the $410.5 million investment through Budget 2016.

The Government is investing $4 million of new operational funding over four year to help reduce emissions.

Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett said this money will be spread across government (thinly, dare we say) to come up with costed, tested and modelled policy options to meet its Paris Agreement emissions target of 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

The Emissions Trading Scheme is being reviewed.

Other announcements included $18.4 million over four years to strengthen biosecurity systems and protect our borders.

Budget 2017 provides an extra $74.6m to further grow business R&D

Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith has announced an additional $74.6 million in funding through the Innovative New Zealand programme in Budget 2017 to meet the growing demand for Callaghan Innovation’s research and development Growth Grants.

The additional funding means a total of $657.2 million is now available over four years through the Growth Grants programme.

The new funding follows on from the $761.4 million investment in Budget 2016 through the Innovative New Zealand package and continuing investment in science and innovation over recent years.

New data released earlier this year by Statistics New Zealand showed a significant increase in the sums Kiwi companies are spending on R&D. In the two years to 2016 business R&D increased by 29 per cent and Callaghan Innovation grant recipients increased their own R&D spending by 46 per cent.

Growth Grants were designed to provide a predictable, rules-based platform for businesses to increase their investment in R&D and encourages the development of a strong business R&D ecosystem in New Zealand.

Minister welcomes significant lift in business R&D

The 2016 Research and Development Survey, which measures the level of business, government and higher education R&D activity in New Zealand, shows business research and development expenditure increased 29 per cent from 2014 to $1.6 billion in 2016, up $356 million.

Total expenditure on R&D increased 20 per cent in the same period, totalling $3.2 billion in 2016.

The data were welcomed by Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith as a sign of the confidence businesses have in themselves and the New Zealand economy.

He said this was an important survey because it was the first to fully capture the impact of the work the Government is doing through Callaghan Innovation and the R&D grants programme to support lifting business spending on R&D.

Callaghan Innovation’s grants and research expertise have been designed to stimulate businesses to fund their own R&D activities. The figures from Statistics New Zealand “are tangible evidence that the initiative is working”, Goldsmith said.

The 2016 Research and Development Survey also reports that:

  • The services and manufacturing sectors led the growth in business R&D up 32 and 29 per cent respectively. From the service sector, the computer services industry grew 40 per cent from 2014.
  • R&D spend is growing faster than the rest of the economy.
  • The number of researchers involved in R&D in New Zealand has increased by 2,900 to 54,500 people.
  • 85 per cent of businesses undertaking R&D activity expected the future R&D spending to stay the same or increase.

The survey also highlighted a significant increase in international investment in New Zealand R&D – up 37 per cent to $265 million in 2016.

Funding that might have boosted rural research puts wind in yachting sails instead

The Taxpayers Union, an outfit that keeps a close eye on how the Government uses public money,  has expressed outrage at a recent Callaghan Innovation research and development grant of up to $17.25 million to Team New Zealand.

Union executive director Jordan Williams says the fund is supposed to be about making New Zealand’s economic boat go faster, not to subsidise a professional sports team.

“It’s even worse than the usual corporate welfare we see from this Government. Only a politician, or someone with an interest in the deal, could possibly think that this grant is really going to lead to new jobs, exports or meaningful economic growth.

“Not only are taxpayers funding the sport of millionaires, we know that Callaghan have given ‘growth grants’ to Team New Zealand’s opposition, Oracle Team USA. Talk about a kick in the teeth for taxpayers.”

He didn’t say so, but it’s a kick in the teeth for agricultural and horticultural sector scientists, too.

The R and D pot is only so big and $17.25 million diverted to the America’s Cup challenges is $17.5 million that won’t be applied to projects in their bailiwick.

It’s not the first time the Taxpayers Union has questioned science funding decisions.

In November it challenged the Royal Society decision to award a $600,000 Marsden Fund grant to anti-TPPA campaigner Jane Kelsey to research “Neoliberalism”.

The grant, made by the panel responsible for social science grants, is for a project entitled ‘Transcending embedded neoliberalism in international economic regulation: options and strategies’.

Williams said then:

“This is hard-earned taxpayer money, meant for genuine research, being wasted on a project which appears to already have a conclusion. It’s highjacking academic research money to promote far left ideology.”

“The research is apparently about New Zealand’s ‘embedded neoliberalism’. ‘Neoliberalism’ is a term which has come to be used by the far left to mean ‘whatever we don’t like’. It’s used by the likes of Ms Kelsey to make markets and economic freedom sound scary.”

“We’ve asked the Royal Society precisely what Professor Kelsey’s falsifiable hypothesis is. On the face of it, this grant appears to be for research with a predetermined conclusion.”

The union had publicly supported Ms Kelsey’s work in holding the Government and Ombudsman to account for failing to uphold the Official Information Act.

Williams said the union respected the right for any individual or group to champion their political views, even if it disagrees with them.

“But it is completely inappropriate for taxpayers, many of whom do not agree with Ms Kelsey’s work, to be forced to fund her political campaigning.”

If the Taxpayers’ Union was given a $600,000 government grant to research academic activism, Williams contended, “Professor Kelsey would be rightly outraged.”



Budget 2015 to give $80m boost for R&D funding

Innovative Kiwi businesses investing in research and development will benefit from a boost in funding for Callaghan Innovation as part of Budget 2015.

The Government will invest another $80m over four years in R&D growth grants, administered by Callaghan, to encourage more private sector research and development and grow New Zealand’s R&D ecosystem.

Growth grants are aimed at bringing New Zealand’s levels of private R&D investment and innovation closer to those of our major trading partners, said , Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce.

“The new funding is equivalent to a 14 percent increase in Callaghan Innovation’s total annual R&D grants budget and adds to the $566m committed over four years for R&D grants in Budget 2013,” Mr Joyce says.

“New Zealand businesses have responded positively to this initiative, with 152 hi-tech companies so far awarded growth grants of up to $356 million. That will in turn support business spend on R&D of up to $1.5 billion over three years.

“This is a crucial part of our efforts to boost levels of private R&D spend in New Zealand and lift innovation. A strong emphasis on R&D helps to diversify and strengthen the New Zealand economy and ensure New Zealand companies remain competitive internationally.

“That in turn helps lift New Zealand’s export revenues, job numbers, and the incomes of Kiwi families.”

A range of industries are demonstrating increased R&D activity, Mr Joyce says, with the top two industries by grant value in 2013/14 manufacturing at 54 percent, and information and communications technology at 23 percent.

Growth grants meet 20 percent of the cost of an eligible firm’s R&D programme. To qualify, a business must commit to spending at least $300,000, and at least 1.5 percent of revenue, a year on R&D occurring in New Zealand.

The growth grants are one of a suite of business innovation services provided through Callaghan Innovation, which include R&D Project Grants for smaller companies and those new to R&D, and R&D Student Grants that give graduates the opportunity to work in innovative companies.

The Government’s total investment in science will amount to almost $1.5 billion in 2015/16 – a 70 per cent increase in eight years.

$5m to expand Food Innovation Network

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce has announced that Callaghan Innovation will invest almost $5 million over five years in a project that will expand New Zealand’s Food Innovation Network.

FoodSouth, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Canterbury Development Corporation (CDC), will use the funding to build a food innovation centre and pilot production plant at Lincoln University to support South Island food and beverages businesses.

“The FoodSouth facility will provide South Island-based food and beverage companies with a one-stop-shop range of product development services, expertise, and equipment to help accelerate the development of innovative high-value products,” says Mr Joyce.

“Callaghan Innovation was created to help Kiwi businesses succeed through innovation. Growing innovations into high-value exports in turn helps to grow our economy.”

The Food Innovation Network supports businesses through the product innovation process, from concept to commercial-scale manufactured product that is ready for market.

The new facility is one of four throughout New Zealand – along with Auckland’s FoodBowl, Palmerston North’s FoodPilot, and FoodWaikato in Hamilton – that make up the Food Innovation Network.

Callaghan Innovation is contributing $2.7m in capital funding and up to $400,000 a year in running costs over five years to the FoodSouth facility, with the CDC providing $200,000 a year. Site services and accommodation will be provided by Lincoln University.

The FoodSouth facility is likely to open in mid-2015.



Dairy SolutioNZ develops new heat tolerant cow to thrive in low tropics

Hamilton-based Dairy Solutionz Ltd has led an expert genetics team to develop a dairy cow breed conditioned to thrive in lower elevation tropical climates and achieve high milk production under heat stress.

Dairy Solutionz chief executive Derek Fairweather said the  new composite breed will be used on the large-scale dairy farm systems the firm is  constructing in partnership with governments and land owners in countries such as USA, Colombia and Ecuador.

Dairy Solutionz will open its first dairy demonstration farms in Colombia and Ecuador before the end of the year.

The genetics project was supported with Callaghan Innovation funding to develop the new composite breeds, some of whose origins are based on years of research at the University of Florida.

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