Govt provides $401.3m injection for innovation and R&D for the COVID economic rebuild

A $401.3 million funding boost for entrepreneurs, innovators and crown researchers was fleshed out today by Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods.

A breakdown shows:

  • $196 million for Crown Research Institutes
  • $150 million for R&D loan scheme
  • $33 million for Māori research and development opportunities
  • $12 million for the Nationally Significant Collections and Databases
  • $10 million to help maintain in-house capability at Callaghan Innovation

According to notes accompanying the press statement, AgResearch will receive capital expenditure from the COVID Response and Recovery Fund, to develop a new fit-for-future scientific research facility and corporate headquarters at Lincoln University. The facility will encourage more collaboration in food and fibres research and innovation, to help farmers and growers manage challenges, and seize opportunities for getting more economic value out of products.

Environmental Science and Research has been allocated a capital contingency from Budget 2020 renovations at its Kenepuru site. ESR provides critical science functions from its facilities at the Kenepuru Science Centre, and has been at the forefront of the national response to COVID-19 through its public health intelligence capability, virology team and broader long-term influenza research programme.

COVID-19 had created a global economic crisis and while New Zealand was in a much better place than others to weather this and recover, Dr Woods said.

“We also need to make smart choices about what we want that recovery to look like. This funding will help secure and create jobs for New Zealanders.”

The Minister said $150 million is being invested into a short-term R&D Loan Scheme to enable businesses to continue to invest in R&D.

The finance comes from the COVID Response and Recovery Fund, a key component in creating jobs and growing the economy.

The loans provide an immediate source of finance to R&D-performing businesses to enable them to maintain their R&D programmes and secure the jobs the programmes bring.

“The R&D Loan Scheme will help ensure business feel confident to keep investment up in uncertain times.”

The funding package also includes $196 million from both Budget 2020 and the COVID Response and Recovery Fund to set up our Crown Research Institutions for success, so they can retain talent and continue their important research.

“Crown research institutes’ critical science capability is an integral part of New Zealand’s response to COVID-19 and our economic recovery.”

A $33 million investment from Budget 2020 will support Māori to partner with the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment and co-design a fund

“ … to enable Māori to determine, and make further investments in their research, science and innovation priorities.”

Budget 2020 is allocating $12 million to the Nationally Significant Collections and Databases, to support custodianship of collections and databases determined to be important to New Zealand.

A further $10 million from the COVID Response and Recovery Fund has been allocated to assist Callaghan Innovation to maintain in-house R&D capability to serve New Zealand businesses, particularly early stage R&D intensive companies that are disproportionally affected by COVID-19.

Further details on the R&D Loan Scheme will be announced soon.

Expertise from across the RSI system has already started tackling the challenges we’re facing from COVID-19 through projects funded by the COVID Innovation Acceleration Fund. This funding came from within existing appropriations and is in addition to Budget 2020.

Source:  Minister for Research, Science and Innovation  

Author: Bob Edlin

Editor of AgScience Magazine and Editor of the AgScience Blog

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