News and events

Callaghan Innovation Board newsletter

This article was published on 1 March 2013

While Callaghan Innovation’s launch just on a month ago was a significant milestone, it was just the start in many respects.

A great deal of the work, and the decisions that will shape our organisation and our place in the innovation system, are still ahead of us.

All of the work we do in our first five months will culminate with delivering our detailed, three-year Business Case (2013-2016) to the Minister by 30 June 2013. Alongside ensuring business continuity, this is very much our focus now.

Our challenge is clear. New Zealand is already an innovative country; we’re just not as innovative as we can be. It’s not just the Goliaths leaving us in their wake. We’re being left behind by other similarly small nations – the Danes, the Finns, the Swedes.

Bloomberg recently ranked New Zealand 28th in an index of the world’s 50 most innovative countries. It’s time to look at what our innovation system needs to do to move New Zealand up the front of that pack, and Callaghan Innovation’s place in that.

In shaping our organisation, that’s where our focus lies.

We’re going to be an organisation that challenges and supports individuals and businesses in New Zealand that innovate to do more.

We’re going to have the products and services and the capability that businesses and industry need to help them deliver on the innovation potential that we know they have.

The decisions about exactly how we do that will feed into our three-year Business Case. These decisions will come from the analysis that we are doing ourselves, and from discussions with our staff and stakeholders.

Over the next few months, we’ll be talking extensively with our partners, customers, industry, and others in the science, engineering, technology and design system about what Callaghan Innovation can do to increase the intensity of – and rewards from – innovation in New Zealand. 

SET (Science, Engineering and Technology) Alignment Project

One month in, we have started comprehensive work programmes to develop the products and services we will offer to customers, to build a ‘fit for purpose’ organisation to deliver them, and to ensure we have the external relationships and the capability we need.

One of these work programmes is the SET (Science, Engineering and Technology) Alignment Project. This project is about aligning the SET delivery capability we have in Callaghan Innovation with the needs of industry and the innovation system to maximise the contribution of that capability.

It is a key piece of work for Callaghan Innovation; ensuring we have the right capability and configuration to deliver on our mission. Part of this involves ensuring that at Callaghan Innovation we have a “fit for purpose” organisation that delivers additional value above what is already being delivered by the science, engineering, technology and design system.

We must ensure that the people and skills that came into Callaghan Innovation on Day 1 are positioned and structured in a way that supports them to generate the maximum value and opportunity to New Zealand over the longer term. 

We have started working with our science, engineering and technology teams to consider how our existing internal capability is best structured within the innovation system to meet New Zealand’s innovation needs in the future and to enable Callaghan Innovation to deliver effectively on its core purpose. This work, which will include discussions with stakeholders, will continue over the next couple of months, feeding into our three-year Business Case.


The first new Callaghan Innovation service off the blocks was our Customer Engagement Centre, which opened on February 1.

The Customer Engagement Centre has a team of experts who can help with anything you need to know about developing new products and services, the innovation expertise you need and where to find it, grants and funding that you can access for innovation projects, and how to apply for those grants.

To talk to our Customer Engagement Centre team, you can call 0800 4 CALLAGHAN (0800 4 22552), or email

Ensuring business continuity

To ensure business continuity while we continue to shape the new organisation, most Callaghan Innovation staff are continuing to do the same roles as they did in IRL and MBIE before our launch on February 1.

This means that if you’re an existing client looking for information about any of the grants, research and development programmes or services that transferred into Callaghan Innovation from IRL or MBIE, you can continue to talk to your former contacts. Old phone numbers, and emails to old IRL and MBIE or MSI addresses will automatically forward to staff for the foreseeable future.

If you want to get in touch for the first time, your best first point of contact is our Customer Engagement Centre.

Cabinet paper and Business Case to June 2013 soon to be available

The Cabinet paper for Callaghan Innovation’s implementation and the Business Case for our first five months will soon be publicly available. We will advise you as soon as they are released.

The Cabinet paper proposes arrangements for setting up Callaghan Innovation, including accountability and performance management, high-level funding, our role in administering business R&D grants schemes, and alignment and coordination with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.

The Business Case for 1 Feburary-30 June 2013 was required for the release of the Government’s funding for Callaghan Innovation for 2012/13. It sets out a clear purpose for Callaghan Innovation, with a major focus on Day 1 and a path for the first five months – including details of our six main work streams:

  • Building the new organisation to be fit for purpose, integrated, agile and collaborative.
  • Defining and validating products and services that we will offer customers, and preparing them for rollout.
  • Aligning capability to ensure that the science and research capability inherited from IRL is put to best use across the New Zealand innovation system.
  • Building constructive external relationships with demand and supply side partners.
  • Shared and seamless services with delivery partners.
  • Engaging with stakeholders on the future direction of Callaghan Innovation to meet their needs.

Across these projects, our focus is on the ‘and’ – what we can do alongside others, and the value we will add; where we can achieve a material step-change; and where we can get cash registers ringing for New Zealand business. We won’t compete with the wider system where it has capability that is already responsive to commercial needs.

As information about our direction and priorities is finalised, we will continue to share this with you.

Thank you

Thank you to everyone who has been in touch both before and after our launch to offer support and congratulations.

We’ve had a lot of positive feedback and have certainly felt the expectations of stakeholders that we start to deliver quickly on our promise to accelerate the commercialisation of innovation in New Zealand firms.

Watch this space. And be ready to stay with us on that journey.

Sue Suckling