Wednesday, 16 November 2016 10:11

New Regional Research Institute announced

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Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce has today announced that the Centre for Space Science Technology (CSST) has been selected to become New Zealand’s second Regional Research Institute.

“The Centre for Space Science Technology, which will be based in Alexandra, Central Otago, will undertake research to explore the use of space-based measurements and satellite imagery unique to New Zealand to meet the specific needs of our regional industries,” Mr Joyce says.

“It will establish an international satellite data exchange and collaborate with leading researchers and businesses, both here and abroad, to design, build and launch New Zealand’s first fleet of cube satellites.”

The Government will provide funding of up to $14.7 million over four years for the new institute with additional funding from industry, and it will operate as a private, independently governed organisation.

“In its proposal to establish a Regional Research Institute, CSST presented a strong business case that will support the development and growth of New Zealand’s space economy by filling critical gaps in the collection and processing of New Zealand’s satellite data,” says Mr Joyce.

“A standout aspect of the proposal was that CSST will also have research hubs in Dunedin, Canterbury and Taranaki, further encouraging R&D and innovation in regional New Zealand – a key objective of the Regional Research Institute initiative.”

CSST is the second successful proposal under the initiative following the launch of the New Zealand Research Institute of Viticulture and Oenology (NZRIVO), based in Marlborough, in October.

A third shortlisted proposal by Earth+Vantage, based in Southland, which proposed undertaking research using real time satellite and ground-based data to lift primary industry productivity was unsuccessful in its application but will have the option to put forward a proposal for the second round of funding. An additional sum of $2.3 million has also been set aside for technical collaboration between CSST and Earth+Vantage if this proves possible.

Minister Joyce today also opened a second round of funding for the Regional Research Institutes initiative.

Regional Research Institutes were announced in Budget 2015. In Budget 2016, the Government set aside $40 million of additional funds to support the initiative, bringing the total funding in contingency to $65 million over four years.

Proposals are invited from groups of businesses, researchers and private investors who are seeking to collaborate to establish regional institutes that will deliver commercially focused and industry-relevant research to their region and New Zealand as a whole.

“During the initial funding round, a number of credible and exciting proposals were received from all across New Zealand on a wide range of research and development interests,” says Mr Joyce.

“Our regional economies have different resources and strengths. These institutes will focus on scientific research relevant to a particular region, with a strong emphasis on the effective transfer of research into new technologies, new firms, and new products and services.”

It is expected that two or three additional institutes will be established over the next four to five years in areas outside Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

Proposals are due to MBIE by 27 January 2017. Shortlisted proposals will be invited to present to a panel of experts and, if selected, will develop business cases for consideration.

More information on the Regional Research Institutes initiative is available at http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/sectors-industries/regions-cities/...