Prime Minister John Key and Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce today announced the structure for a new Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) that will become a high-tech HQ for innovative New Zealand businesses.
It is one of the Government’s key priorities to build a stronger, more competitive economy, and was a major recommendation of the independent Powering Innovation report, which looked at how to boost the growth of firms in the manufacturing and services sector.
The purpose of the ATI is to help get New Zealand’s most innovative ideas out of the lab and into the marketplace more quickly.
Industrial Research Limited (IRL) will be an integral part of the ATI, but its focus will be broader in scope than the work currently undertaken by IRL.
It will help high-tech firms become more competitive by better connecting them with the expertise and facilities that exist both within the ATI and across New Zealand’s Crown Research Institutes, universities, polytechnics, and other research organisations.
The ATI will also take over a range of business development functions that currently sit within other agencies. That will include some business R&D grants, subject to working through practical details.
As part of Budget 2012, the Government has allocated $166 million over four years for the ATI ($90 million opex and $76.1 million capex).
The government intends to have the ATI operational on 1 December 2012. It will shortly announce an Establishment Board, which will be responsible for organisational decisions, including staffing requirements and the location of ATI operations in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch.
The announcement has sparked some other interesting commentary:
Source: msi.govt.nz – more info about the ATI can be found here