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$80m boost for NZ R&D funding announced

Steven Joyce, Science and Innovation Minister, has announced an $80 million boost for R&D funding in New Zealand as part of the Budget 2015.

The $80m is part of the Callaghan Innovation funding and will be invested by the government over the next four years.

The growth grants are aimed at Kiwi companies and are designed to expand New Zealand’s R&D ecosystem.

Joyce says, “The new funding is equivalent to a 14% 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.

“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,” he says.

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

Growth grants meet 20% 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% 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% increase in eight years.