Crown Research Institute

Crown Research Institute

Crown Research Institute

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In New Zealand, Crown Research Institutes (CRIs) are corporatised Crown entities charged with conducting scientific research.

Crown Research Institutes date from 1992, with most formed out of the parts of the former Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) and of elements of various government departments. The dissolution of the DSIR, along with the government-imposed requirement that the CRIs become "financially viable" and operate on commercial lines, created a certain amount of resentment among some scientists.

The Crown Research Institute Act 1992 states the purpose of a CRI as carrying out research, and that each CRI must do this for the benefit of New Zealand, pursuing excellence in all that it does, abiding by ethical standards and recognising social responsibility; and operating as a good employer. A CRI must do these things whilst remaining financially viable. The technical definition of financial viability changes from time to time, but focuses on return on equity. The State does not expect CRIs to maximise profit, but simply to cover costs of capital. This formula aims to ensure appropriate commercial disciplines whilst fulfilling scientific purposes.

The State charges CRIs with promoting the transfer and dissemination of research, science and technology. In other words, they have the role of "making a difference" with the research they produce. They do this via strategic, long-term relationships with sector (the CRI Act set up...
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