Initiative underway to link university research with business needs

Initiative underway to link university research with business needs

UniServices, the commercialisation arm of the University of Auckland, is hosting an event to promote university innovation and technology in the health sector on Tuesday 18 May. Six other New Zealand universities will be joining the University of Auckland at the event.

The event kicks off an initiative, coordinated by the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors’ Committee (NZVCC), Business New Zealand and the University Commercialisation Offices of New Zealand (UCONZ) and funded by the Tertiary Education Commission’s Priorities for Focus scheme, designed to build university-business links and promote greater collaboration.

Under this initiative, a series of similar events involving all eight New Zealand Universities will be held around the country over the next twelve months. Each event will focus on a specific theme such as biotechnology, energy, food and nutrition, ICT, education, design and creative arts and high tech manufacturing.

A survey conducted by Statistics New Zealand and the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology in 2008 showed that the combined research and development (R&D) spend of businesses and universities accounted for nearly three-quarters of New Zealand’s total R&D expenditure. Despite this, research links between the two sectors are not as strong as they need to be for the development of the economy, something this initiative aims to overcome.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister announced that next week’s budget will provide a number of measures to assist business lift its level of R&D and he stressed the role that technology transfer can play in helping to capture the commercial value of research carried out in research organisations such as universities.

The events to be held under the Priorities for Focus initiative will help the government achieve its goals by cementing the relationship between researchers and business.

Chair of the NZVCC’s Research Committee and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Otago, Professor Sir David Skegg, says the initiative is an excellent opportunity for business and universities to work together to show that university research can find practical solutions to everyday business problems.

BusinessNZ Chief Executive Phil O’Reilly says innovation is a key source of sustainable business value and New Zealand firms should investigate the value to be gained from closer links with tertiary and research organisations.

Businesses interested in attending these events should contact their local university commercialisation office for more information, including the dates, locations and themes of future events.

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12 May, 2010

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