Dana Johannsen is the NZ Herald's chief sports reporter

Team New Zealand gets more government funding

Team New Zealand mount the wing sail to their new catamaran before testing in the Waitmata Harbour. Photo / Greg Bowker
Team New Zealand mount the wing sail to their new catamaran before testing in the Waitmata Harbour. Photo / Greg Bowker

Team New Zealand has received a handy financial boost through the awarding of a government research and development grant.

The Kiwi syndicate has been selected to receive Callaghan Innovation Growth Grant - the same scheme that has assisted Emirates Team NZ's key rivals and America's Cup holders Oracle Team USA. Oracle's Warkworth-based boat-building operations, Core Builder Composites, was confirmed as a recipient of the grant in August 2014.

The grant gives taxpayer funding of 20 per cent of its R&D spend, up to a maximum of $5m for three years, plus GST. Companies can therefore get theoretical maximum funding of $17.25m.

Team NZ has previously not been considered for the grant because of the government funding that has been provided by other crown agencies for their past two campaigns.

Team NZ chief executive Grant Dalton said he was unsure of the precise figure the team would receive through the grant as it depends on what the team's R&D spend is.

"Emirates Team New Zealand's research and development spend is a constantly evolving figure month to month, but it can receive 20% of its annual R&D expenditure. It is clear to say the teams expenditure figure meets the minimum spend criteria of $300,000 per annum, but it certainly will not receive anywhere near the maximum allowable amount of the fund."

Team NZ has led the way in marine and composite technology research and development for the past 20 years, and Dalton believes the innovation has strong spin-off effects on the New Zealand marine industry as a whole.

"What we do, and what we develop has a flow-on effect on to the New Zealand marine industry as well as so many other New Zealand businesses where there is cross over in the technology we develop. This is at the core of the Callaghan Innovation's R&D fund - helping New Zealand businesses succeed through technology. And the team has a proven record of leading the way in marine technology," explained Dalton.

Callaghan Innovation General Manager, Accelerator Services, Simon Brown said the Growth Grant acknowledges the increasing R&D capacity of Team NZ's off-water operation.
"Growth Grants are only available to organisations with at least $300,000 dedicated to R&D annually. It is designed to boost R&D among established businesses which are serious about research and development."

In the last America's Cup Emirates Team New Zealand was the trailblazer in terms of the development of foiling into grand prix sailing. Now, just over two years on, foiling is commonplace across the sport and technology is constantly evolving.

"This America's Cup is going to be the most technologically advanced America's Cup ever," explained Team NZ's technical director Dan Bernasconi.

"Although we have been working on and making exciting advancements and new developments since 2013, this funding is key to really ramping up our technological development of our next boat which is key to winning the America's Cup all the while showcasing New Zealand as a world leader in marine and composite technology around the world and on our sports biggest global stage in 2017 at the America's Cup in Bermuda."

- NZ Herald

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