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Bill Bennett


Commercialising New Zealand science

This week’s Moxie Session asked: “How well does New Zealand commercialise its science”?

Here are some of the ideas that came from the meeting:

New Zealand has performed badly at commercialising science in the past, but is catching up fast.

We certainly need to.

As a nation we are good at knowledge creation, probably delivering more per head of population than anywhere else. We have more scientists per head than other countries, but the amount of money per scientist is low compared with other nations. Apparently our science is cost-efficient by international standards.

Barriers to science

There are barriers. We lack the high-value, high-growth companies to take our science to the world.

At the same time New Zealand companies lack the skills needed to turn ideas into businesses. We don’t have enough CEOs with the necessary expertise. More importantly, there’s a serious shortage of business development managers. And New Zealanders are bad at asking others for help.

Government policy settings seem to work better than in the past with the government tipping in funds to innovative start-ups which attract capital from private sources.

All-in-all I came away with a mildly optimistic impression but there’s no room for complacency.



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