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Institute to become ‘national hi-tech HQ’

Government investment aimed at transforming a crown research institute into an advanced technology institute was announced on 3 November.

Industrial Research Limited (IRL), a research enterprise focusing on the commercialisation of scientific and engineering excellence, will function as the “hi-tech HQ” for New Zealand, according to Prime Minister John Key.

“The government’s number one priority, as recommended in the Powering Innovation report released today, is to transform and grow IRL by focusing it on supporting industry development,” said Key.

Over the next five years the government intends to effectively double the size and capability of IRL, transforming it into an advanced technology institute with up to 700 staff.

The institute will have facilities in Auckland and Christchurch, and will retain the Gracefield facility in Lower Hutt.

Estimates put the cost of establishing the advanced technology institute at between NZ$120 million and NZ$150m, in addition to IRL’s current funding from the government.

“This is an average of NZ$24m to NZ$30m a year of additional funding, which the government will pay for out of the new operating allowance in next year’s budget,” said Key.