Shaun Coffey bows out as Callaghan Innovation replaces IRL

Article – BusinessDesk

Shaun Coffey bows out as Callaghan Innovation institute
replaces IRL

By Pattrick Smellie

Nov. 30
(BusinessDesk) – The chief executive of Industrial Research
Limited, the Crown Research Institute being folded into the
new advanced technology institute, has announced his
resignation after six and a half years spent restoring the
once-ailing science body’s financial performance.

Shaun
Coffey said he was leaving “after careful consideration”,
and following IRL’s acknowledgement in the last week through
a series of awards and medals for its contribution to the
New Zealand innovation system, including one of the Prime
Minister’s Science Prizes.

Coffey found himself offside
with Science and Innovation Ministers Wayne Mapp and then
Steven Joyce because of his advocacy for retention of the
advanced materials research capacity developed at IRL’s
Wellington campus, at Gracefield, Wellington.

Ministers
were at one stage keen to move all activities to campuses in
Christchurch and Auckland, close to those cities’
engineering schools, but were ultimately persuaded to
maintain the IRL campus as part of a larger amalgamation of
advanced materials science, initially dubbed the Advanced
Technology Institute.

It has since been formally named
Callaghan Innovation in honour of leading New Zealand
physicist and science community leader, Sir Paul Callaghan,
who campaigned for greater connections between science and
new industries before his death from cancer earlier this
year.

Coffey described the new institute, which also
includes elements of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and is
intended as a “one stop shop” for high value, innovative
businesses with high growth potential, as a “major
challenge” and wished it every success.

Coffey thanked all
those who had helped to “reinvent” IRL in the past six and a
half years.

“The collective knowledge and abilities of our
people, and their intense desire to put science to work for
New Zealand, are constant sources of inspiration and
motivation. It has been my profound privilege to serve them,
and through them to serve New Zealand,” said Coffey, who
came to the role from
Australia.

(BusinessDesk)

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