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Northland Inc to host Regional Research Institute workshop next month

Posted on September 28, 2015

The workshop on October 9 is part of the process involved in determining which regions will earn the right to establish a private-sector/ market-led RRI following the government’s initial commitment of $25 million over three years, announced in this year’s budget.

The workshop will be facilitated by independent consultant Stephen Davies-Howard and attended by MBIE officials, including Ron Clink, the initiative’s lead policy advisor from MBIE’s science policy team.

“One of the key factors in strengthening Northlands economy is having the right science and research supporting our key sectors” says David Wilson CEO Northland Inc.

“This will provide an opportunity for regional stakeholders to talk directly with MBIE officials involved in the development and implementation of the policy.”

Mr Wilson says a number of people have already registered their interest to attend the workshop and: “this will let us gauge the level of interest and commitment to having such a facility here in the Northland.”

The workshop is just the initial step which will be followed by a registration of interest process then business case development. MBIE is expected provide its recommendations on the best-suited regions in May 2016.”

A total of 12 regions have been chosen to host workshops with six of those areas already completed since the process began this month (September). The remaining workshops are expected to be completed by mid-October.

When the budget announcement was made the Minister of Science and Innovation, Steven Joyce, cited the Cawthron Institute in Nelson as an example of what the government was looking to achieve.

The process will be competitive, with the expectation that one to three institutes may be established in New Zealand over the next four years, however Mr Wilson believes that Northland fits the bill in terms of the opportunities identified in the Regional Growth Study where a research and innovation centre was identified as a key opportunity to underpin growth in the region.

“We have the evidence to support this; we now need to put the building blocks and industry commitments in place to take advantage of the opportunity.” Mr Wilson says.