Govt reveals $566m NZ business funding plans

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New criteria for business R&D Grants that will allow more Kiwi businesses to access more than half a billion dollars’ worth of R&D funding assistance have been released.

Announced two months ago, the government said budget increases of $98m meant that a total of $566m is now available over four years ($141.5m a year) to encourage innovation through Callaghan Innovation’s business research and development grant schemes.

The new Callaghan Innovation grants – R&D Growth Grants, R&D Project Grants, and R&D Students Grants – were revealed in Budget 2013 in May.

“Over the next three years, the Board will focus on building an integrated and responsive organisation focused on the needs of current and future businesses, offering a range of new and innovative services and facilitating access to the talent and resources they need to grow and prosper faster than they would otherwise,” wrote Sue Suckling, chair, Callaghan Innovation.

“Callaghan Innovation will be a learning organisation; trying a range of approaches, evaluating impact and making changes as necessary.

“When Callaghan Innovation succeeds, all New Zealanders will benefit from a stronger economy, higher-value exports, more productive and sustainable resource use, more jobs and higher incomes.

Echoing his previous comments in May, Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce emphasised that businesses innovation is crucial for Kiwi companies to be internationally competitive.

“Our most successful exporters are generally the most innovative and these new grants will mean more Kiwi firms will be eligible allowing them to invest more in R&D so they can compete more effectively in overseas markets,” he said.

The Callaghan Innovation, which officially opened for business in February this year, was created in a bid to “accelerate the commercialisation of New Zealand innovation.”

Joyce said the new grants replace the previous Technology Development Grants, TechNZ Project Grants, TechNZ Capability Grants, and Technology Transfer Vouchers.

The criteria, which give effect to the changes, will be gazetted next week.

“A condition of the grants will be that businesses will be expected to return some or all grant funding if they enter into a contract or arrangement – including change of ownership – that materially reduces their R&D activity in New Zealand,” Joyce said.

“The increased government expenditure in business R&D will help incentivise real progress towards the Government’s goal of business R&D expenditure reaching 1 per cent of GDP.”

The new criteria are available at: http://www.callaghaninnovation.govt.nz/about-us/key-documents

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