The government has launched the cornerstone of its policy to encourage new, high value, high-tech products and services across science, engineering, design and technology disciplines. To be known as Callaghan Innovation, the institution brings together the former crown research institute Industrial Research Ltd, the business investments team at the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment, the Auckland Foodbowl initiative, and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise’s Lean Manufacturing programme.
It will commence operations with 400 staff and offices in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
Its early focus will be “to refine the services and support it provides to best serve New Zealand business – driving innovation and commercialisation of products and services and economic success,” said Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce.
“Callaghan Innovation will work across industries as diverse as food and beverage manufacturing, agri-tech, digital technologies, health technologies, therapeutics, and high-value wood products.
“The common theme is encouraging innovation and higher value products and services.”
The president of the New Zealand Association of Scientists told the Science Media Centre: “We will be able to tell if Callaghan Innovation is on track in a year or two by whether it has been able to significantly grow the numbers of scientists and decrease the number of bureaucrats that work there.”
Callaghan Innovation, named after an inspirational New Zealand scientist, Sir Paul Callaghan, has no permanent chief executive yet, with a search ongoing at the moment.
Its creation follows a prolonged period of restructuring of the government science and innovation effort which first saw two agencies folded into a Ministry of Science and Innovation, which lasted little more than a year, when it was folded into the new MBIE super-ministry.