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New Zealand launches new programme to attract international innovators

New Zealand launches new programme to attract international innovators

The New Zealand Government has launched
an Innovative
Partnership
programme aiming to attract future-focused international
innovators and firms to undertake R&D and develop their products in New
Zealand.

The Innovative Partnerships programme seeks to engage with
innovative companies that are pushing the boundaries of technology and
solving the world’s big problems, and promotes the compelling advantages of
working in New Zealand.

The programme is led by the Ministry of Business, Innovation
and Employment (MBIE) and multiple agencies across local and central governments
are working together to support and facilitate the elements that influence a
decision to undertake R&D in New Zealand.

A small team of experts running the programme are dedicated
to helping research and development intensive businesses connect, collaborate
and innovate in New Zealand. The idea is to connect businesses with the right
people, businesses, agencies, research organisations and universities, and also
help them navigate central and local governments.

The MBIE
website
notes that New Zealand has competitive advantages in AgriTech,
Digital Technologies, Health Technologies, High Value Nutrition and Space, but
Innovative Partnerships isn’t restricted to these areas of strength. MBIE is
seeking to discuss transformative technology areas and emerging sectors, as
well as emerging challenges for the economy, environment and society.

The
official launch of the programme comes after American innovator Kitty
Hawk Corporation, operating in New Zealand as Zephyr Airworks, credited
Innovative Partnerships as part of the reason it is testing its autonomous
air taxi technology in New Zealand.

The company Kitty Hawk is backed
by Larry Page, the co-founder of Google and now the chief executive of Google’s
parent, Alphabet and it is run by Sebastian Thrun, who helped start Google’s
autonomous car unit as one of the founders of Google X. Its fully electric hybrid
between a plane and a drone is being tested in New Zealand since October last
year. Kitty Hawk is developing an app and technology to enable customers to
hail flying taxis as they would an Uber and reports
say
that there are plans to launch a commercial service within three years.

“International
innovators are finding our unique expertise, resources and talent, together with
our size and location, offer surprising advantages when it comes to turning
ideas into reality. Zephyr Airworks’ presence in New Zealand will
build capability in our own science system – partially in areas like
software engineering, Artificial Intelligence, robotics, composite material,
and aviation design,” said Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan
Woods.

Minister Woods added, “This Government is committed to
developing New Zealand as a hub for high-value, knowledge intensive businesses
that create value through innovation and R&D.”

“New Zealand has a long history of innovation and being at
the front of change. Our future is still being imagined and we are determined
to play an active role in shaping it for the better through new ideas, new
innovations, and new ways of looking at the world.”

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