Sir Peter Gluckman R&D Barriers
Roundtable Breakfast

The roundtable breakfast with Sir Peter Gluckman held at Callaghan Innovation in Auckland on June 13, brought together key stakeholders to discuss the pressing issues and opportunities within New Zealand's research and innovation sector.

The event aimed to address the barriers to the commercialization of research, the lack of global orientation among local companies, and the fragmentation of innovation support across government agencies. Additionally, the discussions highlighted the need for quality mentorship for startups, regulatory compliance for globalization, and the critical funding gaps hindering deep tech companies' scaling up. 

The roundtable sought to explore solutions to these challenges and to foster a more integrated and strategic approach to New Zealand's innovation ecosystem, emphasising interdisciplinary collaboration, increased investment, better coordination, and improved data analytics.

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Key Issues & Risks

  1. Barriers to Commercialization:

    • Difficulty in commercializing research and lack of a global orientation among companies.

  2. Mentorship Deficit:

    • Insufficient quality mentorship for startups.

  3. Fragmented Innovation Support:

    • Lack of coordination among government agencies supporting innovation.

  4. Regulatory Barriers:

    • Compliance and regulatory challenges hindering globalization.

  5. Funding Gaps:

    • Insufficient funding for scaling up deep tech companies.

Questions Discussed
  1. Financing System Improvement:

    • How can the financing system be enhanced and connected across the ecosystem?

  2. Scaling Up Startups:

    • What changes are needed to help startups scale successfully?

  3. Government Innovation Resources:

    • How can government innovation resources be consolidated?

  4. Regulatory Compliance:

    • How do we achieve regulatory compliance for globalization?

  5. Capital Availability:

    • How do we ensure capital availability for scaling deep tech companies?

Next Steps

  • Feedback Encouragement:

    • Sir Peter encouraged attendees to provide feedback and ideas outside the traditional submission process.

  • Initial Report Timeline:

    • An initial report will be provided to the government in about a month (July 2022).

  • Urgency for Reform:

    • The advanced technology sector needs to be restructured urgently, and critical decisions will be required in the coming weeks and months.

Sir Peter's Action Items

  1. Provide Feedback to the Science System Advisory Group (SSAG):

    • Directly share feedback or ideas with SSAG instead of waiting for formal submissions.

  2. Set Up Meetings:

    • Contact Callaghan Innovation or SSAG to arrange meetings or focus groups on specific issues.

  3. Focus Groups:

    • Organise focus groups and meetings with clusters of companies/sectors over the next six weeks to further discuss issues and ideas.

  4. Venture Capital Discussion:

    • Schedule a meeting with the venture capital funds to discuss deep tech investments.

Insights from Sir Peter

  • Integrated and Strategic Approach:

    • There is a need for a more integrated and strategic approach to New Zealand's research and innovation system.

  • Interdisciplinary Collaboration:

    • Emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration, increased investment, better coordination, and improved data analytics.

  • Quality Mentorship:

    • Quality mentorship, government support, and partnerships are crucial for startups to overcome challenges and achieve their potential.

  • Attracting Capital:

    • Building the right partnerships and relationships is essential to attract capital.

  • Deep Tech Investment:

    • Investment in deep tech is crucial for New Zealand's economy.

  • Addressing Silos:

    • Concerns were raised about silos and competitive directions within the current system, with a call for urgent reform.

Decisions to be made

  • Science and Innovation System Review:

    • An outline of New Zealand's science and innovation system, including funding and governance challenges, was discussed.

  • Global Market Orientation:

    • Input is sought from companies and individuals on scaling New Zealand's orientation to global markets.

  • IP and Equity Issues:

    • The panel aims to address IP lawyer barriers and equity issues in the tech industry.

  • Incubator Setup:

    • Discussions on the setup of public vs. private incubator space in New Zealand.

  • Public and Private Sector Roles:

    • A reflection on the passive role of the private sector in the past 30 years and the public sector's view on investment in R&D.

My Speaker Highlights

  • Sir Peter Gluckman:

    • Advocated for a more integrated approach and urgent reform of the advanced technology sector.

  • University and Government Representatives:

    • Discussed barriers to innovation in the university system and the need for better collaboration and standardised rules for public research organisations.

  • Industry Experts:

    • Emphasised the importance of quality mentorship, addressing infrastructural issues, and the challenges of achieving new standards for innovation in the sector.

The panel underscored the importance of urgent and strategic reforms to bolster New Zealand's research and innovation ecosystem. These reforms should aim for better coordination, increased investment, and fostering global competitiveness.

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