The $451 million funding will support the establishment of three new collaborative centres that will bring together expertise from Wellington’s research-based organisations. The three centres will focus on health and pandemic readiness, climate change and disaster resilience, and technology and innovation.
“Wellington Science City is a wonderful opportunity that enables us to be better connected with organisations within Wellington’s research community—universities, Crown Research Institutes, public sector health and policy agencies, service providers, and the private sector,” said Professor Margaret Hyland, Vice-Provost (Research) at Victoria University of Wellington.
“We’re excited about this significant investment in research infrastructure. Our involvement in all three centres reflects the multidisciplinary expertise of our researchers. Being physically co-located with researchers from partner organisations will bring with it a lot of scope for collaborations and I’m excited about how significantly this will strengthen our research.”
Professor Hyland said the research centre focused on health and wellbeing is a key opportunity for pre-clinical research to be informed by clinicians.
“This centre will bring together capabilities of various organisations and interactions with clinicians will direct the research in a manner that can lead to true impact. Partnerships among relevant organisations across Aotearoa New Zealand will augment the nature and scope of the centre’s research.”
With a lot of New Zealand’s research capability in the areas of oceans, climate, and hazards already located in Wellington, the climate change and disaster resilience centre will accelerate research in these areas.
“The potential to work with government agencies and communities in ways we haven’t before will facilitate the creation and application of new knowledge to address global environmental issues and make a real difference for New Zealand,” said Professor Hyland.
The third centre to be established will focus on advanced manufacturing and materials, energy futures, and biotechnology.
“Besides technology facilities, the centre will provide dedicated space for entrepreneurs, alongside public sector researchers. Envisioned as a deep-tech startup space, this centre will be the ideal place for researchers from diverse backgrounds to come together, collaborate and grow, thereby building on the high-tech capacity the University already hosts.”
Professor Hyland further sees the potential for the three centres to foster Māori research partnerships and networks, facilitate student pathways, and develop effective talent pipelines.
Professor Hyland also welcomed funding announcements in Budget 2023 for research fellowships and the applied doctoral training scheme.
“Another significant boost for research is the funding allocated for Aotearoa New Zealand to join the EU’s Horizon Europe initiative. This will open more doors for us to collaborate with partners there, enabling us to further build our research reputation internationally,” she said.