Call for interest – we’re preparing an application for a heavy engineering industry sector-led research partnership under the 2017 MBIE Partnership scheme in response to the Government’s Partnership Investment Plan 2017-19.

This proposal aims to provide high–quality research to increase the competitiveness and sustainability of companies like yours, in the framework of a larger sustainable New Zealand economy – in the long term strengthening our ties with research partners and industry research users.

With a working title ‘Transforming New Zealand Metals Engineering’ it’s in line with our strategic objective to help our members’ transition from ‘lowest cost tender-based contractors’ to more sustainable businesses with higher-value manufactured goods and services.

We plan to keep the research objectives broad to benefit as many of our members as possible – with subsector specific research themes addressing the required industry-led ‘Horizon 2’ activities aimed at developing emerging ideas with higher risk science.

Overcoming your R&D barrier – funding

Upfront, we know that many of our members pass over R&D opportunities because of the high financial costs and equally high risk often associated with them – but we also recognise this barrier needs to be overcome if we’re to keep up with the technological advances that are challenging our members’ current business models.

This realisation has led us on a journey to identify how best we can leverage our industry levy to better support you as our members, with a recent restructure of our research funding meaning we’re now able to meet the Government’s minimum level of investment to secure an additional 40% contribution from them – provided the proposed research themes explored are for novel products and services.

Here at HERA, we have a great tradition of driving industry-led R&D in steel construction providing much needed competition in the building sector, and this will be continued with horizon 2-type research developing more cost effective, resilient and sustainable buildings. We’ve also made much progress in driving R&D in the renewable energy space under our AGGAT program – with members already committed to this program now intending to leverage continued financial support via this funding pathway.

We’re also exploring opportunities in autonomous offshore aquaculture as well as new opportunities which will emerge in due course from our research into promising business opportunities and business models over the next two terms of the program spanning an intended 14 years.

Significantly, this HERA-led partnership provides the opportunity for individual companies to put their research projects through the system to more effectively obtain government co-funding to complement their own investment – making the Partnership proposal very relevant to our members as a unique opportunity to get the business transformation process started.

Do you have an idea you feel could shake things up? Put NZ on the world map again?

If you have a concept you feel could work in ‘Transforming NZ Metals Engineering’, then we’d like to hear all about it. Contact Director Dr Wolfgang Scholz.

Time is of the essence, so don’t delay! The first stage of the application closes 13th February!