Hamish Fletcher

Hamish Fletcher is a business reporter for the NZ Herald

Callaghan begins handing out innovation grants

$25 million will be shared among eight firms. Photo / Supplied
$25 million will be shared among eight firms. Photo / Supplied

One of the first technology grants allocated by Callaghan Innovation has been awarded to a company directed by one of the innovation body's board members.

However, Minister of Science and Innovation Steven Joyce said grants were decided upon by an independent board which is working on Callaghan Innovation's behalf while it gets set up.

$25 million of funding will be shared among eight firms as part of this round of the Government's technology development grants, which are aimed at boosting business research and development.

More than 50 firms have received a total of $170 million under the grant scheme from when it began in 2010.

This round of grants, announced yesterday, are the first to be allocated by Callaghan Innovation, the new Government body hoping to better connect businesses with the science and technology sector.

Businesses receiving grants this year include AFT Pharmaceuticals, CWF Hamilton, Greentree International, Livestock Improvement, Methven, Teknatool International, and Tru-Test.

Fusion Transactive - which produces technology for petrol stations - is also among this round of grant recipients.

This company's chairman is Navman founder Sir Peter Maire, one of the directors of Callaghan Innovation.

Maire said last night that the Callaghan Innovation board was a "long way divorced from the grants side of things" and as far as he was aware the round of recipients was decided before he joined the Government body in January.

Joyce confirmed this last night and said a board from the former Ministry of Science and Innovation was making decisions on behalf of Callaghan while it was established over the next six months.

If the issue arose in the future, Maire said, he would have to step down from any relevant decision-making processes.

- NZ Herald

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