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This week's ITP update

Paul Matthews, ITP Chief Executive. 04 November 2016, 4:00 pm
This week's ITP update

Sorry to break it to you, but only 7 weeks until Christmas!

Someone mentioned the other day that it was around now that people started winding down for the year, but we certainly haven't seen any signs of that. In fact things are busier than ever for the tech sector, and ITP is no exception.

Marsden Fund disappoints again

The results of the 2016 Marsden Fund research round came out yesterday and again tech-related research has been snubbed.

The Marsden Fund funds research across the science domains, however only 1 out of 68 "standard" research projects funded were in the computing/IT space, despite the fact that this is apparently identified by Government as a priority for New Zealand's future economic growth.

Computing/IT fared better in the "fast start" end, which is earlier-career researchers and generally less in-depth research, but the continuing world-lagging approach to comprehensive blue-skies research in tech-related areas is hugely disappointing. Marsden's Maths and Information Sciences (MIS) panel, which makes research funding decisions across maths and computing domains (and has mathematicians as 2/3 of its members) funded 8 projects in total, 7 of which were in the maths or stats domain. By comparison, the Australian equivalent is around 50/50.

We're not saying there isn't worthwhile research in maths or other domains of science. But seriously, it's not the 70s anymore - computing and IT are not the same as maths. It's time for computer science, information systems and related research to be assessed by a full panel of people from the domain who actually understand this stuff, and that's why it needs to be in a separate panel. Those from computing on the panel would have put in a spirited defence, but at the end of the day they're in the minority.

I spoke to NBR Radio about it earlier today and they've put both an article and NBR Radio interview up here [paywalled, but with a 30 day free trial]. As I mentioned in that interview, funding public research in public institutions is essential to New Zealand's economic future. But if we want the next Google (originally funded by a similar fund out of Stanford), we have to treat tech as a full branch of science when it comes to research funding, like most other countries do these days.

I'm also on Radio NZ at 4.45pm today discussing it.


High Tech Research Network kicks off

Speaking of research, it was great to attend the launch of Unitec's High-Tech Transdisciplinary Research Network this week, run by Professor Hossein Sarrafzadeh.

The Research Network conducts computing-related research across a number of areas with a strong focus on cyber-security, often in partnership with industry and other institutions. They do some really worthwhile things, however again the longer-term future of the network will be predicated on securing funding.

Well done to Hossein for getting this off the ground.


DIA Marketplace update in Christchurch

In partnership with NZTech and NZRise, we recently ran updates from the Department of Internal Affairs' Marketplace project in Auckland and Wellington, and we're bringing the same update to Christchurch later this month.

The ICT Marketplace represents the future of how the tech sector will provide services to Government, starting with cloud.

In their words the marketplace will "allow government agencies to access a wider range of public cloud services under a common commercial construct while also improving the efficiency of typical procurement practices where security and commercial risk is managed in accordance with government and procurement security standards."

A bit of a mouthful, but the short version is, if you intend to sell into Government in future, or want to understand where this stuff is going, you really should be there. We'll also look to record the session for those from other parts of NZ.

Places are very limited and you can register on the ITP website.


Become a TechHub Partner

And lastly, we've commenced the call for partners for TechHub and would love for you to consider being a part of this hugely successful programme.

TechHub (previously known as ICT-Connect) organises hundreds of school visits a year, for passionate IT people to talk about what a future career in IT really means. TechHub also runs the TechHub CREST Challenge, a 1.5-term project in schools, provides heaps of info about tech careers, and much more.

TechHub is funded by industry (with us contributing significantly as well) and only works because a broad group of companies and others contribute. The programme has been operating for 4 years and has proven results, so please do consider being a part of it.

You can download the partner prospectus, or drop Sean James from our team a note if you're keen on talking further.


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