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Wanted: 20 of the world's top researchers

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 20/07/2016

The government is putting $35 million into a bid to lure up to 20 of the world's top researchers to New Zealand.

It's a 50/50 deal with universities which will host the researchers and their labs.

"We will invite all the universities to bid for the opportunity and expect up to 15-20 world-leading researchers and their teams to be brought to New Zealand over a three year period," Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce said.

"We are especially wanting to recruit people with an established record in innovation and entrepreneurship."

Mr Joyce says New Zealand has to keep up in a very competitive world.

"We need to keep challenging ourselves and keep adding to our hi-tech sector."

The money, which will be spread over four years, is from the $761m Innovative New Zealand package announced in the May budget.

AUT's Professor John Raine says universities will be keen to host the researchers.

"I think there are particular opportunities across health and medical technologies, `big data' technologies and analytics," he said.

Dr Andrew Clelland, chief executive of the Royal Society of New Zealand, says its vitally important for New Zealand to be seen as a place where world-class research is carried out.

"New Zealand researchers often travel to meet their peers," he said.

"Having more of their peers come here through this scheme could well lift the horizons and improves the experiences of our aspiring researchers."

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