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New Zealand bridges researchers with budding innovators

The latest milestone in the New Zealand’s Government plan to boost research and development is by providing funding that will connect top researchers with budding innovators.

According to a recent press release, the Government’s plan, which is funded through the 2019 round of the Commercialisation Partner Network (CPN) and PreSeed Accelerator Fund (PreSeed), will put innovators with talent on the right commercial course.

The Funding

The Government will invest NZ$ 26.5 million into the commercialisation of innovation over the next two years.

The CPN fund and the PreSeed fund together support commercialisation of publicly-funded research.

The CPN grows commercialisation capability in research organisations.

PreSeed provides early-stage project funding to help commercial opportunities reach the stage where they can gain private investment.

Additionally, PreSeed fund has also invested in some highly successful businesses, including commercial deals in excess of NZ$ 100 million per year for the last two years.

Minister of Research, Science and Innovation Megan Woods explained that this initiative will create more high value jobs and diversify the economy.

This is about unlocking the value of publicly funded research in order to create new technologies and companies that support a productive economy that is growing and working for all.

Who are involved?

KiwiNet, which is a group of 18 Crown Research Institutes, universities and other research organisations, and the University of Auckland’s national commercialisation programme, Return On Science, will use this investment to take world-leading innovations to market over the next two years.

The work of Kiwi researchers is world-leading, but they need support. This is about backing the people to launch out of the lab.

The funding will see investment experts on hand to provide advice and leadership mentoring to start-ups across the country.

According to the CEO of KiwiNet, this support will scale early momentum into transformational commercial success, thereby inspiring and empowering the next-generation of entrepreneurial researchers and fast track them to success.

The Government has an ambitious goal to increase Research and Development spending to 2% of GDP over 10 years.

Backing the researchers and businesses to succeed from day one is an important part of that plan.

By the numbers

University of Auckland’s Return On Science had made several contributions since its inception. These are:

  1. Had made sure that 77% of pitches result in commercial deals
  2. Had supported 60 start-ups
  3. Had generated more than NZ$ 200 million in revenue for the innovation economy

Meanwhile, KiwiNet has already delivered the following:

  1. Technologies and companies which have generated NZ$ 293 million revenue to Kiwi businesses and research organisations
  2. 383 commercial deals and NZ$ 428 million potential export earnings
  3. Supporting the creation of 39 start-up companies

Together, both have been responsible for creating over 300 jobs across the country.


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