The government has ‘agreed in principle’ to provide up to $1.9 million to the Otago Institute of Design to establish an Applied Design Research Centre in Dunedin, Economic Development Minister Pete Hodgson announced today.
The Applied Design Research Centre is a joint venture between Otago Polytechnic and the University of Otago with funding from the region’s economic development group, Otago Forward. The Centre intends to provide design services, research and education to industry across the region and beyond.
Mr Hodgson said the Centre will build on the strengths already existing in the design community in Otago and will focus on areas such as sustainable design, interaction design, furniture, medical technologies, agricultural technologies and design-led business direction.
“The Centre will strengthen the links between industry, the university and the polytechnic by helping business people understand the importance of design in every aspect of their business, and also by teaching and research being informed by real world problems facing businesses,” he said.
The funding comes in two tranches, $0.6 million subject to the development of a satisfactory comprehensive long term strategy and detailed business plan, and a further $1.3 million subject to matching funding from industry or the region.
“What is special about the Centre is that it will be industry-focused, devoted to solving real design issues for industry as well as transferring learning and research into an applied environment. But more than that, it will be promoting design-led thinking by industry and the community,” Pete Hodgson said.
“Given the undertaking by Fisher and Paykel Deputy Chair John Gilks earlier this week that 90 employees will be retained in Dunedin for project design, it is obvious that a Centre of this kind has real merit.”