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Regional Research Institute opportunity
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Regional Research Institute opportunity
15 September 2015

Regional Research Institute opportunity


ADBT and the SC Chamber of Commerce facilitated a workshop on the 9th September exploring the opportunity provided by Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) in looking at the development of Regional Research Institutes (RRIs). $25 million has been set aside in contingency from Budget 2015.

Four MBIE staff delivered a workshop with over 20 business, Council, Chamber and EDA, ITP and university representatives.

This initiative will see the intended establishment of 1 – 3 (RRIs) around the country. The final number and where they are established will be dependent on the strength of the business case to support each. The RRIs are modelled on the Cawthron Institute in Nelson (now a leading privately run research institute).Cawthron undertake research in the marine and aquaculture science space, over the years they have and will continue to be a major contributor to the Nelson economy

The criteria for RRIs must be outside the main centres (Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch) and be a mixed model of private/industry and public funding (the government is making the $25 million available over 3 years commencing 1 July 2016) providing high end research to support industry and business.

RRIs are also seen as an initiative to support regional economies. Approximately 12 regions across New Zealand, including South Canterbury, have indicated an interest in putting together an expression of interest for an RRI in their respective regions.

Further information on the RRI’s can be found at


The timeline is extremely tight as follows

  • October – December 2015 Registration of Interest Process
  • February – April 2016 Business case development
  • May 2016 MBIE panel final recommendations

High Level Criteria:

  • Eligible regions for hosting an institute are only those outside the main population centres of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
  • New institutes must be established and maintained as private or private not-for-profit organisations with their own independent governance arrangements.
  • New institutes must perform relevant research in support of industry-led efforts to increase their R&D intensity.
  • New institutes should congregate and develop their own ‘in-house’ expertise, but are also expected to facilitate and integrate researchers from other NZ institutions, or from overseas, into their mix of activity.
  • New institutes are expected to bring new research activity into the regions whilst meeting industry demand in their host region and possibly across several regions due to the nature of their industry engagement.
  • Proposals for establishing (a) new institute(s) must make a clear business case that demonstrates ongoing financial sustainability beyond initial government support.

Next Steps:

  1. ADBT & SC Chamber facilitate a second meeting and seek expressions of interest from businesses or ITP/universities to lead this significant piece of work. Specialists will need to be sought to lead the project and to develop the written business case.
  2. An Advisory Panel/Committee/Governance group will need to be created with strong industry representation to ensure the work is industry led and to assist in sourcing industry support and funding.
  3. Governance Group to be responsible for the creation of the RRI Vision – outputs and outcomes.
  4. Initial funding will need to be sought to develop the ROI. Recommendation from MBIE to follow the Better Business Case model.

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