A $35 million investment from the government is expected to attract world-leading entrepreneurial researchers to New Zealand to further strengthen our universities and our broader fast-growing innovation ecosystem.
The ‘Entrepreneurial Universities’ initiative yesterday will involve the Government entering into a 50/50 partnership with individual universities. Universities will be invited to bid for the opportunity, and up to 15-20 world-leading researchers and their teams will be brought to New Zealand over a three year period. Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce announced the initiative yesterday.
“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,” 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 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.
“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," says Joyce.
Professor Harlene Hayne, the Chair of Universities New Zealand and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Otago says the Entrepreneurial University initiative will be broadly welcomed by this country’s universities and will make a real difference in their ability to attract the best researchers to this country.
"We have a university system that is under significant financial pressure and that has been facing significantly greater pressure in both recruiting and retaining top quality researchers," she says.
Hayne says half of all academic staff in New Zealand universities were recruited from overseas.
"In some cases, this has involved attracting bright young New Zealander’s back after completion of further studies. In other cases, this has been recruiting overseas academics whose international experience can significantly enhance knowledge when applied in a New Zealand context. In both cases, we are recruiting in an increasingly competitive international marketplace for skills.”
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