New state science arm Callaghan Innovation starts up

The Government's new state science company Callaghan Innovation gets underway from the beginning of February, but its chair says it will take months to develop.

An eight-member board has been appointed to lead Callaghan Innovation, including entrepreneurs Sir Peter Maire and Craig Richardson, Auckland University's Sir Peter Hunter and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise director Robin Hapi.

The body will target the $38 billion a year manufacturing and services sector, with the aim to improve links between the mainly public research bodies and private sector to develop new, leading edge products.

With government funding of $166 million over the next four years, it will bring together current operations of state science company IRL, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's business investment team and the Auckland Foodbowl.

Chair Sue Suckling says the coming months will be spent bedding in operations in Auckland, Wellington and Canterbury.

But she says it is like a start up that will take a long time to be fully operating.

The state science company is named after the late Sir Paul Callaghan, who championed the role science could play in making New Zealand an economic success.

Next story in Business: Higher tax bills likely - KPMG