Crown research institutes

7th August 2014

Crown research institutes (CRIs) are Crown-owned companies that carry out scientific research for the benefit of New Zealand.

Each of the seven CRIs is aligned with a productive sector of the economy or a grouping of natural resources. They are:

As of 1 February 2013 Industrial Research Limited (IRL) became Callaghan Innovation. Read more about Callaghan Innovation at external link

Established in 1992, CRIs play a unique and important role supporting their sectors to innovate and grow. They strive to address New Zealand’s most pressing issues and achieve economic growth by improving sectors’ productivity and improving the sustainable use of natural resources.

Governance of CRIs

The CRIs have two shareholding ministers who act to protect the Crown’s investment in CRIs. The two ministers are the Minister of Science and Innovation external link and the Minister of Finance external link.

The governance structure for all CRIs is the same: Shareholding Ministers appoint CRI boards of directors, who in turn appoint the chief executive in accordance with the Companies Act and the constitutions of each CRI.

The CRI toolkit outlines the accountability and performance framework in which CRIs operate

Our relationship with CRIs

MBIE's ownership and performance role is to monitor the Government’s investment in CRIs.

As part of this role we:

  • provide strategic ownership advice to the shareholding Ministers on the financial and non-financial performance of the CRIs
  • work with CRIs to ensure they can deliver optimal outcomes for New Zealand
  • assist with the appointment of directors to CRI boards, in partnership with the Crown Ownership Monitoring Unit.

The CRI toolkit outlines the accountability and performance framework in which CRIs operate.

The CRI Taskforce recommendations

In February 2010 the CRI Taskforce presented its recommendations on how to enhance the value of New Zealand’s investment in CRIs.

Read the CRI Taskforce recommendations [PDF; 875kb]

 The CRI Toolkit

The CRI toolkit is a resource primarily for CRI boards, management and staff. The information and guidelines in the toolkit:

  • outline the accountability and performance framework in which CRIs operate
  • reflect the overarching outcomes and changes as a result of the Government’s endorsement of the CRI Taskforce recommendations.

Four Year Rolling Reviews

Four Year Rolling Reviews provide shareholding Ministers with an independent assessment of each CRI’s current effectiveness and future potential in delivering on the purpose and outcomes set out in its Statement of Core Purpose. The reviews provide insights on where performance can be improved and assurance on where the CRI is operating effectively in delivering outcomes that contribute to New Zealand’s economic, social and environmental well-being.

The reviews are an assessment of governance effectiveness, financial viability and sustainability. They also identify opportunities, barriers to success and alignment to government priorities.

Findings from the reviews support CRI Boards in their governance and decision making roles. The reviews are conducted every four years and involve an independent panel working for up 15-20 days. The panel’s work includes document examination, interviews with the CRI Board, management and staff; and interviews with key end-users and stakeholders.

The review panels have consistently found a strong commitment to science that benefits New Zealand; that the organisations are underpinned by solid practices, processes and policies; and good relationships with key customers. They also found the CRIs would benefit from a clearer strategy; strengthened partnerships and interactions with Māori; and delivery of future financial projections.

For detail on each of the reviews that have been undertaken and the action plans that the Boards have put in place to address the concerns, see the reports below.

Plant and Food report [PDF; 709 KB]

Plant and Food action plan [PDF; 49 KB]

GNS Science report [PDF; 1.27 MB]

GNS Science action plan [PDF; 66 KB]

Landcare Research report [PDF; 873 KB]

Landcare Research action plan [PDF; 194 KB]

ESR Report [PDF; 1.16 KB]

ESR Action plan [PDF; 288 KB]