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The Government has released Building Innovation, the second progress report of six in its Business Growth Agenda.

The document gives a pretty good overview of what the Government has done and intends to do in its efforts to boost innovation in the economy. It also shows our major weaknesses when it comes to the R&D activities we undertake.

A few of the graphics from the report illustrate the problem well:

R&D – an international comparison

Our strengths and weaknesses compared to OECD

* Thin lime green line is the OECD average

Our export base

The report touches on many previously announced initiatives – the formation of the Advanced Technology Institute, the National Science Challenges, the boosted funding of public science and increased science and engineering tertiary course funding.

There’s a lot going on, but is it the right focus? Would Sir Paul Callaghan, whose name will grace the new ATI, be proud of this plan to boost innovation in New Zealand?