Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce has today announced a NZ$35 million investment over four years for ‘Entrepreneurial Universities’, a new initiative to attract world-leading entrepreneurial researchers to New Zealand to further strengthen our universities and our broader fast-growing innovation ecosystem.

“Entrepreneurial Universities is all about attracting more of the world’s leading researchers and their teams to locate their labs here and base themselves in New Zealand,” Mr Joyce says. “We are especially wanting to recruit people with an established record in innovation and entrepreneurship in the top ‘maker’ disciplines, to help grow the pipeline of excellent innovative start-up companies in New Zealand, and train the next generation of scientific entrepreneurs.”

The Entrepreneurial Universities programme will involve the Government entering into a 50/50 partnership with individual universities to attract and support named researchers and their teams to work in the university for an initial period of three to five years.

“We will invite all the universities to bid for the opportunity, and expect up to 15-20 world-leading researchers and their teams to be brought to New Zealand over a three year period.”

The programme follows an approach to the Minister and the TEC earlier this year by the University of Auckland, and will be modelled on other similar programmes around the world including the US and the UK.

New Zealand’s universities already have a very good reputation for excellence with all eight universities ranked in the top three per cent in the world.

“However it’s a very competitive world out there, Mr Joyce says. “We need to keep challenging ourselves and keep adding to our hi-tech sector. Entrepreneurial Universities will strengthen our research and start-up capabilities and add to the learning opportunities for our undergraduates.

“The ‘Entrepreneurial Universities’ initiative is part of Budget 2016’s NZ$761.4 million ‘Innovative New Zealand’ package and will complement big increases in the funds for researchers already based here in New Zealand.

“Across the Marsden Fund, the Endeavour Fund, the Catalyst Fund, the Health Research Council, and other associated investment mechanisms, the government is investing an extra NZ$410 million over the next four years in New Zealand science. The Entrepreneurial Universities fund will add another dimension to that comprehensive investment.”

Entrepreneurial Universities is consistent with the National Statement of Science Investment, and is a key initiative in the Innovation stream of the Business Growth Agenda.

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