New partnership to boost regional innovation

Saturday 11 May 2019
Massey University one of six partners in a collaborative that will accelerate the adoption of digital technologies across New Zealand's regions and primary industries.
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Massey University is partnering with Microsoft, The Collaborative Studio, Scion, Kordia and The Factory to accelerate the adoption of digital technologies and enable more collaborative innovation across New Zealand’s regions and primary industries. 

Called the Primary Industries and Regional Innovation Collaborative (PIRIC), the collaborative aims to drive the digital transformation of the country’s primary industries, support sustainable social and economic growth in regional New Zealand and improve protection of the environment. PIRIC was announced at the Just Transition Summit in Taranaki last week and generated considerable excitement.

Massey University Dean, Enterprise Dr Gavin Clark says New Zealand is facing an era of disruptive change and wicked problems, like climate change, that can only be tackled collaboratively. He says PIRIC is an innovative response to these issues.

“PIRIC is a grand experiment that seeks to identify complex issues and challenges in New Zealand’s primary industries and regional economies,” he says. “It seeks challenges that can only be solved by taking a joined up approach working with others. It has embraced a new mindset in collaborative innovation.”

Pooling networks and expertise

The first phase will see the partners, which are drawn from across the technology, innovation and primary sectors, bring their expertise and networks together.

“Massey University’s rich history in primary industries gives it a depth of capability in a range of areas,” Dr Clark says. “We will connect to the complementary capabilities of the other partners –  Microsoft’s digital technology expertise, Kordia’s connectivity across regional New Zealand, Scion’s forestry innovation, The Factory’s experience in agritech startups and The Collaborative’s expertise in collaborative governance. Together we know we can make a real difference.”

Dr Clark says that Massey’s future contribution, like the contribution of all the partners, will be determined by the projects the collaborative develops. 

“Organisations commonly come together around a funding bid where the problem is defined by the Government or other funder,” he says. “With PIRIC, the parameters are more open, it’s fundamentally an innovative way of identifying opportunities and solving problems where organisations across a value chain voluntarily commit to strategic partnership because it’s the right thing to do.

“PIRIC can best be thought of as a club, a ‘do tank’, rather than a ‘think tank’. It’s success will be judged solely on what it enables.”

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