Appendix 1: About Crown research institutes

Crown Research Institutes: Results of the 2011/12 audits.

Crown research institutes (CRIs) were established in 1992 under the Crown Research Institutes Act 1992. They are Crown entities with the primary purpose to carry out research for the benefit of New Zealand.

CRIs also provide a range of scientific and advisory services. They are expected to work with industry, firms, and other organisations to encourage and support the sharing of new technology and knowledge.

CRIs receive funding from different sources, including contestable and non-contestable government funds, contracts for services with local and central government agencies, and commercial work. They are expected to maintain their financial viability and their scientific capability.

The eight CRIs29 whose results are covered in this report are listed below, with each CRI's statement of core purpose:

  • AgResearch Limited (AgResearch) – AgResearch's purpose is to enhance the value, productivity, and profitability of New Zealand's pastoral, agri-food, and agri-technology sector value chains to contribute to economic growth and beneficial environmental and social outcomes for New Zealand.
  • Institute of Environmental Science and Research Limited (ESR) – ESR's purpose is to deliver enhanced scientific and research services to the public health, food safety, security, and justice systems and the environmental sector to improve the safety and contribute to the economic, environmental, and social well-being of people and communities in New Zealand.
  • Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences Limited (GNS) – GNS's purpose is to undertake research that drives innovation and economic growth in New Zealand's geologically-based energy and minerals industries, that develops industrial and environmental applications of nuclear science, that increases New Zealand's resilience to natural hazards, and that enhances understanding of geological and earth-system processes.
  • Industrial Research Limited (IRL) – IRL's purpose is to increase the contribution of the industrial, manufacturing, and associated sectors to the New Zealand economy by empowering industry to drive innovation in manufacturing and services.
  • Landcare Research New Zealand Limited (Landcare Research) – Landcare Research's purpose is to drive innovation in New Zealand's management of terrestrial biodiversity and land resources in order to both protect and enhance the terrestrial environment and grow New Zealand's prosperity.
  • National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Limited (NIWA) – NIWA's purpose is to enhance the economic value and sustainable management of New Zealand's aquatic resources and environments, to provide understanding of climate and the atmosphere, and increase resilience to weather and climate hazards to improve the safety and well-being of New Zealanders.
  • New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Limited (Plant and Food Research) – Plant and Food Research's purpose is to enhance the value and productivity of New Zealand's horticultural, arable, seafood, and food and beverage industries to contribute to economic growth and the environmental and social prosperity of New Zealand.
  • New Zealand Forest Research Institute Limited (Scion) – Scion's purpose is to drive innovation and growth from New Zealand's forestry, wood product, and wood-derived materials and other biomaterial sectors, to create economic value and contribute to beneficial environmental and social outcomes for New Zealand.

CRIs have set up many subsidiary companies or joint ventures to develop and commercialise intellectual property.

Figure 9 shows the size of each CRI, with number of staff, revenue, assets, and equity as at 30 June 2012.

Figure 9
Number of staff, revenue, assets, and equity of each Crown research institute, as at 30 June 2012

CRI Number of staff Revenue $million Assets $million Equity $million
AgResearch 762 157.6 252.0 201.7
ESR 370 58.6 59.1 37.9
GNS 364 73.7 51.0 26.9
IRL 357 67.8 54.9 40.1
Landcare Research 375 59.3 45.3 27.2
NIWA 591 121.3 134.5 95.8
Plant and Food Research 799 121.4 96.2 69.6
Scion 295 43.9 40.0 27.6
Total 3,913 703.6 733.0 526.8

Note: The number of staff shows the number of full-time equivalent staff, from data provided by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. Financial data are for CRI Groups and are from the 2011/12 annual reports. Revenue figures include Crown and commercial revenue and other income (such as interest).

The governance structure for all CRIs is the same: the shareholding Ministers (the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Science and Innovation) appoint the board of directors, which is accountable to the shareholding Ministers for the CRI's performance.

CRIs' boards of directors are required to produce an annual statement of corporate intent, an annual report, and a half-yearly report, all of which must be presented to the House of Representatives by the responsible Minister (currently the Minister of Science and Innovation).

Since 2008/09, CRIs have been required to hold annual general meetings with shareholding Ministers or their representative, where the board of directors describes and accounts for the CRI's activities during the past year.

29: IRL has since become a subsidiary of Callaghan Innovation and is no longer a CRI.

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