Team New Zealand given government grant for research and development work for next America's Cup

America's Cup world series leaders Tam New Zealand hope a research and development grant will help keep them at the head ...
MIKE HEWITT/GETTY IMAGES

America's Cup world series leaders Tam New Zealand hope a research and development grant will help keep them at the head of the fleet heading into Bermuda 2017.

Team New Zealand's America's Cup bid has been boosted by some government backing for their research and development work.

The government decided against directly backing the latest campaign for Bermuda 2017 despite substantial investment in previous cups.

But that opened the door for Team New Zealand to apply for a growth grant through Callaghan Innovation, the government agency supporting hi-tech businesses in New Zealand.

That door had previously been closed to them because of the millions of dollars in direct government sponsorship.

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Team New Zealand announced on Wednesday that  the grant had been awarded, though the amount wasn't revealed - it can be 20 per cent of their reserach and development spending.

Team New Zealand are seen as leaders in the marine industry with their research and development. They led the way in foiling for the last America's Cup in San Francisco and much of their work spills over into yachting's racing and recreational industries.

"What we do, and what we develop has a flow-on effect on to the New Zealand marine industry as well as so many other New Zealand businesses where there is cross over in the technology we develop. This is at the core of the Callaghan Innovation's R&D fund - helping New Zealand businesses succeed through technology. And the team has a proven record of leading the way in marine technology," Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton said.

"It is fantastic Callaghan Innovation has recognised both the importance and the potential Emirates Team New Zealand has in the research and development of technologies that goes into creating an America's Cup winning yacht."

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Team New Zealand's technical director Dan Bernasconi predicted the current cup cycle as "the most technologically advanced America's Cup ever" and described the funding as a "key" to the team's hopes of success.

 "Although we have been working on and making exciting advancements and new developments since 2013, this funding is key to really ramping up our technological development of our next boat which is key to winning the America's Cup all the while showcasing New Zealand as a world leader in marine and composite technology around the world and on our sports biggest global stage in 2017 at the America's Cup in Bermuda."

Callaghan Innovation general manager, accelerator services, Simon Brown explained that said the growth grant acknowledged the increasing R&D capacity of Team New Zealand's off-water operation and that the grants were only available to organisations with at least $300,000 dedicated to R&D annually.

Dalton said the grant would be dependent on the team's R&D spend.

"Emirates Team New Zealand's research and development spend is a constantly evolving figure month to month, but it can receive 20% of its annual R&D expenditure. It is clear to say the team's expenditure figure meets the minimum spend criteria of $300,000 per annum, but it certainly will not receive anywhere near the maximum allowable amount of the fund."

Team New Zealand have made budget cuts to stay in the America's Cup where they have been a major force since first entering in the 1987 cycle in Perth.

They are currently developing their test boat with an eye to the final design of their Cup boat - a 50-foot foiling catamaran - that will be launched early next year.

Team New zealand currently lead the America's Cup world series which resumes in Oman later this month.

 - Stuff

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