Callaghan Innovation: One step closer to being out of the lab and into the marketplace

Monday 15th July 2013

As we wrote in our article in January this year (see Callaghan Innovation a new advanced technology institute for New Zealand out of the lab and into the marketplace) Callaghan Innovation (CI) is taking over and consolidating many of the funding and development programmes previously offered through New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) and the former Ministry of Science and Innovation (MSI).

Following the release of the Statement of Intent for CI to 2016 (issued Thursday, 11 July 2013) we now have further details as to how New Zealand’s new “high tech HQ” will “get our best, most innovative ideas out of the lab and into the marketplace more quickly”. The key roles of CI are to motivate innovation, commercialisation, and growth, connect businesses with capital, markets, talent and technology, and deliver research and technical services.

The Statement of Intent also confirms the role of CI in working closely with NZTE and the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund (NZVIF) in providing research and technical services to market-led innovation, supporting technology and investment networks, developing firms’ capabilities in R&D, and administering R&D grants. Services related to developing firms’ business capabilities will still be administered by NZTE.

Research and technical services and ‘Accelerator Services’ for capability development and grants will be accessed through Innovation Agents at CI. The ‘Better by Design’ and ‘Better by Lean’ programmes previously offered by NZTE will now be managed by CI, in addition to the new matched-funding programmes announced in Budget 2013 – Growth Grants, Project Grants, and Student Grants. Student Grants are currently open for applications, and cover funding for undergraduate or post-graduate student interns.

While full details of the Growth and Project Grants are yet to be released, it is anticipated they will be similar to the grants previously administered by MSI. It has been announced that Growth Grants will be three-year programmes available to established R&D performers spending significantly on R&D in New Zealand, while Project Grants will be available to those with smaller R&D programmes or those new to R&D. Both grants will require between 30-80% co-funding from the recipient.

While CI states that customers can have confidence in the confidentiality of information held by the institute, prior to collaborating with other parties or applying for grants, we recommend that legal advice be obtained early to ensure wherever possible that there is clarity around issues of confidentiality and ownership and to ensure that any agreed contractual arrangement meets and accurately represents each party’s commercial goals. In many cases, public disclosure or sale of a new product or service will limit the options available to protect the intellectual property in the product or service. For example, public disclosure of an invention prior to filing patent applications will invalidate applications in many jurisdictions. 

Baldwins can advise on these issues, and we have provided services such as freedom to operate advice to clients who have received grant funding through the previous MSI programmes. Please contact us if you would like more information about our services or about accessing this funding.

The full Statement of Intent is available from

This article was written with assistance from Harriet Sandstad.

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