Earlier this year, we applied for the MBIE 2017 Research Partnership Investment Round under the title “Transforming the heavy metals engineering industry through disruptive innovation” – an application now approved by their Science Board to progress to the full proposal stage.

While this advance has considerably improved our chance for success, the investment round is still very heavily contested so it’s imperative we put the best possible proposal forward. So far, our call for industry participation at the concept stage has been well responded to – and we’re now at a critical point where we need to ensure that every member with serious R&D aspirations and commitment has a chance to consult with us, so we can understand your participation potential.

The Research Partnership concept

Research partnerships are for sector-led investment and collaborative effort in longer term, innovative research activity with potential for transformation. Providing funding for up to seven years with potential to extend another seven after that, the partnership needs to contribute at least 60% of the total funds with the government making up the 40% balance – with a minimum level of joint investment being $1 million per year.

In our case, our project vision is to assist in transforming New Zealand’s heavy metals based industry into a proactive one as the ‘architects of our own disruption’, and our intent is to have industry members directly involved in the research activities which will be structured under four overarching themes:

1. Big data | IT | industry 4.0 eg. internet of things
2. Design systems and manufacturing processes eg. end-to-end
3. Innovative materials like graphene
4. Business systems

From these themes, several specific research programs have been proposed to deliver them including:

  •  Mass customisation concepts and processes for modular steel buildings
  •  Resilient and sustainable steel construction concepts
  •  Quality assurance and productivity strategies
  •  Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) energy conversion concepts
  •  Advanced materials and coating solutions for different operational environments, and
  •  Industry sector and business opportunity benchmarking action research

To ensure we meet these targets, our program will collaborate with some of the most experienced and trusted research partners from across New Zealand’s universities and independent research associations, complimented by specifically selected international research partners to achieve the best possible and informed solutions going forward.

What does this mean for you?

At HERA, we believe this is a significant opportunity for us to leverage our research levy to better support our members dedicated to driving innovation in R&D, which is why we’re committed to contributing industry funds to assist research programs which show strong industry buy in and leadership.

Provided your company specific proposals fit the sectors overarching research themes we’ve put forward, and you’re willing to co-invest and participate in the partnership research program with us, you’ll have the opportunity to protect any of your Intellectual Property (IP) developed from company specific funding, while benefitting from government co-funding, development of industry wide research capability and access to strong technical expertise.

Time is of the essence to seize this opportunity – so contact us now!

If you have mutual business interests in the wider development of our heavy engineering metals industry and you’re serious about investing in R&D, please contact our Director Wolfgang Scholz to discuss the underlying research partnership concept and how your company fits in.

Alternatively, you can connect with the division general manager that best suits your business-related research within our team:
Steel constructionGeneral Manager Structural Systems Dr Stephen Hicks 
Heavy engineering excluding steel construction – Manager Industry Development Dr Boaz Habib
Welding and steel fabricationGeneral Manager Welding Centre Michail Karpenko

We have a very tight timeframe to meet, so we urge you to talk to us as soon as you can and before end of May 2017.

We look forward to exploring your R&D future with us!