New Zealand: Did you know...NZ government invests in new science projects and announces a new round of R&D co-funding for high flyer innovative Kiwi businesses

Last Updated: 9 September 2012


Govt invests $133m in new science projects

New Zealand researchers have been awarded $133 million in new research grants, Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce announced today.

The first tranche of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's 2012 science investment round will support 47 research projects in the biological industries; energy and minerals; the environment; hazards and infrastructure; and health and society funding categories.

The new research contracts take effect from 1 October this year. The contracts run for between two and six years. Funding of $32.8 million will be spent in the current financial year.

Funding for research in the high-value manufacturing and services sector will be announced in the next few weeks.

"The successful proposals so far range from research into combating the Psa bacterial disease in kiwifruit; to enhancing the resilience of underground infrastructure in Christchurch," Mr Joyce says.

"Science is both a driver of economic growth and a strong platform for evidence based decision making across society. These projects have been selected on the basis of their high-quality science and the difference they can make."

This year there is an increased focus on encouraging promising new ideas that can deliver commercial results with 11 applicants receiving funding through the Smart Ideas category.

Smart Ideas has two phases. The first phase allows researchers to develop their novel1 idea; then they will have to apply for further funding aimed at commercialising the work.

One of these projects, led by a young IRL researcher, is to develop a novel clean-energy storage technology designed to overcome problems with integrating renewable wind energy into the national grid.

"Ideas like this energy storage system can have significant commercial potential in New Zealand and globally - but they have to get to the point of being commercially viable," Mr Joyce says.

"The Smart Ideas approach will help make this happen while strengthening relationships between science and businesses and developing the entrepreneurial culture among New Zealand researchers."

All successful proposals were selected by MBIE's Science Board after their proposals were reviewed by independent experts.

For more information on the successful research grants go to:


$45m R&D co-funding for high-flying NZ businesses

The Government is inviting applications from businesses for the 2012 Technology Development Grant-its flagship investment programme to boost research and development in businesses, Science and Innovation Minister Hon Steven Joyce announced today.

Around $45 million over three years is available for innovative, high-tech businesses to help speed up the development of innovative products and services and get them to market faster.

"Science and innovation are key drivers of economic growth and this multimillion-dollar boost by way of R&D co-funding backs businesses that are committed to research and development," said Mr Joyce.

"Our leading high-tech businesses need to maintain their competitive edge in global markets, especially in tough world economic times. This programme helps to take some of the risk out of R&D and encourages businesses to reach for more ambitious R&D goals."

The Technology Development Grant is one of the programmes announced in Budget 2010 to boost business R&D. The grants are valued at 20 per cent of the R&D spend of each business, up to a maximum of $2.4 million per year for three years.

Up to now, 42 businesses have received a Technology Development Grant with a total worth of $148 million.

The TechNZ suite of business R&D programmes includes Technology Development Grants, TechNZ Projects, TechNZ Capabilities and the Technology Transfer Voucher, and totals $115 million per year.

More information is available at:


1One of the requirements for patentability and the first part of the test for inventive step. In patent law "novel" simply means new or not previously known. New Zealand currently has a "local novelty" requirement for patentability. This means that the subject invention will not be novel (and therefore will not be patentable) if it was known or used in New Zealand before the date on which the application for a patent was filed. There is a proposal to amend our legislation in late 2010 to move to an "absolute novelty" standard. This means that the subject matter must not be known or used anywhere in the world before the date of application in New Zealand. If the subject matter is known or used before the date of application, this is known as "anticipation".

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

James & Wells Intellectual Property, three time winner of the New Zealand Intellectual Property Laws Award and first IP firm in the world to achieve CEMARS® certification.

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