Ministry of Science and Innovation

A message from Lesley Middleton and Murray Bain of MoRST (contact: lesley.middleton@morst.govt.nz)

Here’s the latest update on the work being undertaken by the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology (MoRST) and the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology (the Foundation) to implement Government’s changes to New Zealand’s science system.

The new Ministry of Science and Innovation

Work is progressing well toward the establishment of the new Ministry of Science and Innovation.

The Government expects to pass legislation to establish the Ministry by the end of this year. It will start operating after that, on a date still to be set. This date will be agreed by the relevant Ministers and will be included in the legislation. At this stage we are working towards a start date of 1 February 2011 and we will keep you informed as the plans take shape.

New investment products for business R&D

As part of our process to create awareness in the business community around the Technology Development Grant and the Technology Transfer Voucher, Business New Zealand and the Foundation have just finished a series of six regional seminars on Government funding for business research and development. Businesses had the opportunity to ask questions about TechNZ funding and hear from a regional company that had used TechNZ and R&D to grow their business. More than 500 people attended the events.

Guidelines for applying for the Grant will be published in the next month on the Foundation’s website.

We are finalising the process for a phased implementation for the Voucher, and will be informing you when more details are available.

To receive the latest information on the developments in this space, you can sign up for TechNZ updates, by emailing TechNZ@frst.govt.nz. The Foundation’s TechNZ page also has information on the new products.

National network of commercialisation centres

The Foundation is currently undertaking a review of the submissions from the consultation process on what functions a national network of commercialisation centres should have. The consultation process closed on 21 July and submissions will be used to inform the development of a Request for Proposals (RfP) seeking proposals to provide critical components of the network. The RfP is to be released in September.

CRI Taskforce implementation

Work on the implementation of the CRI Taskforce recommendations is progressing well and we continue to receive excellent engagement across the sector.

The workshops between CRIs and their stakeholders to help define CRI’s enduring strategic role were completed in mid-July. These discussions will feed into the set of CRI statements of core purpose that the Government intends to finalise and release in October.

The Statements of Core Purpose will be supported by a new and improved funding and accountability framework that will allow CRIs to operate more strategically and be more responsive to user needs. Discussions on how individual funding contracts will change are occurring with each CRI. The development of the new accountability framework is leveraging off international best practice and existing best practice in New Zealand.