Two state-run initiatives targeting publicly-funded research have awarded $17.5m to programs including University of Auckland’s commercialisation arm, as New Zealand continues its bid to bring national R&D spend to 2% of GDP over the next decade.

The government of New Zealand has announced NZ$26.5m ($17.5m) in grant funding for research and innovation-led initiatives in the country over the next two years.

The commitment comes through the 2019 batch of Commercialisation Partner Network (CPN) and PreSeed Accelerator Fund – two programs run by New Zealand’s Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment focused on publicly-funded research.

University of Auckland’s commercialisation arm, Auckland Uniservices, will receive $2.8m pre-tax over the next two years from CPN, plus $3.3m from PreSeed Accelerator Fund in the same period.

Auckland Uniservices operates two national commercialisation programs – Return on Science and Momentum.

KiwiNet, a collaborative alliance of 18 New Zealand-based universities and research organisations, secured $2.9m through CPN and $6.6m from PreSeed Accelerator.

PreSeed Accelerator also committed $1.3m to University of Otago’s commercialisation arm, Otago Innovation, and $700,000 to forestry-focused research institute Scion.

New Zealand’s R&D expenditure in 2018 accounted for a 1.4% share of national GDP, according to StatsNZ, with the government determined to reach 2% of GDP over the next decade.

Megan Woods, minister of research, science and innovation, said the additional funding would help to this end, by linking up entrepreneurs to the country’s best research talent.

She added: “This is about unlocking the value of publicly funded research – to create new technologies and companies that support a productive economy that is growing and working for all of us.”