Boris signs landmark science agreement with New Zealand

Photo: CP / screengrab

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has signed a historic agreement with New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at Downing Street today (Friday 1 July), strengthening the UK and New Zealand’s collaboration in research, science, and innovation.

The Research, Science and Innovation Arrangement demonstrates a commitment to developing deeper links between our science and innovation communities, strengthening collaboration between the two nations and building on areas of shared scientific and innovative excellence.

Co-operation under the Arrangement is expected to be wide-ranging, from joint research and development of new technologies, to visits and exchanges of scientists, and innovation missions between businesses.

The UK is working with New Zealand’s Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to deliver the agreement, which will support the ambitions set out in the UK’s Integrated Review to develop strategic science partnerships, and strengthen the UK’s presence in the Indo-Pacific region.

Science Minister George Freeman said:

This is another step in our Science Superpower mission to widen and deepen our post-Brexit global science programmes.

Today’s agreement with our New Zealand allies and partners represents another victory for our bilateral relations in science and innovation, particularly in the Indo-Pacific, where we are also building strong working relationships with Australia, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea. This is in addition to the Science and Innovation Memorandums of Understanding I have now agreed with Israel, Switzerland, Sweden and Canada.

As I made clear at the recent G7 science summit in Frankfurt, and at the 47 nation Eureka Innovation Summit in Lisbon last week, the UK is more committed than ever to deepening our international research collaborations.

The agreement made today will give us the chance to deepen our collaborations with New Zealand’s outstanding science and research community in a number of areas, from space, quantum and photonics, to Antarctic research and Agritech.

The combination of our long-standing UK leadership in plant and animal science with New Zealand’s world class AgriTech eco-system will also provide an exciting opportunity to build partnerships and collaborations, showcasing the best of UK innovation in efficient farming, and helping UK businesses grow and scale while enabling access to global markets.

The Arrangement will support the UK’s access to New Zealand’s niche capabilities in areas such as quantum technology, enabling collaboration that will further global scientific development in these important fields. The agreement will promote joint work between our most innovative businesses and brightest researchers, while supporting our ambition to become a global Science Superpower and Innovation Nation.

The UK government is also announcing an Innovate UK Global Business Innovation Programme (GBIP) in AgriTech with New Zealand today, an endeavour which will support innovative UK businesses to build high-potential connections with New Zealand’s AgriTech industry.
The programme will enable access to New Zealand businesses, universities, labs and investors, allowing innovators to work with their counterparts to develop solutions to common industry challenges, such as advancing the use of robotics and satellite data for more efficient and precise farming. British SMEs will also be supported in bringing their products and services closer to global markets. Recruitment for eligible individuals is planned to commence today.

Opportunities are already being explored with the British High Commission in Wellington to put the Arrangement into action, and deepen the connections between our research and innovation communities.


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