Wellington Science City

Wellington Science City is the Government’s largest ever capital investment in science infrastructure. The creation of three multi-institution research hubs will build on the region’s strengths to make Wellington a vibrant, resilient, and adaptable centre of research, science and innovation by 2030.

Investing in co-location and collaboration

Building a sustainable, resilient, and cohesive research, science and innovation system that adapts to new challenges and opportunities is a key objective under the government’s Te Ara Paerangi – Future Pathways science system reforms.

The Wellington Science City programme began in response to several Crown Research Institutes (CRIs) proposing new infrastructure projects in Wellington. It presented an early opportunity to contribute to the vision of Te Ara Paerangi – Future Pathways by exploring co-location as a way of enhancing collaboration and increasing the quality and impact of public investment in research, science, and innovation.

Other countries have been investing to improve physical proximity between students, researchers and entrepreneurs for some time, and there are a number of studies evidencing the benefits around improved research productivity and innovation as a result. Ultimately, Wellington Science City is intended to benefit not just Wellington, but the whole of Aotearoa New Zealand. It will create opportunities to build connections, capability and career pathways across the research, science and innovation system.

Configuration of Wellington Science City

A proposal for the preferred configuration of Wellington Science City was developed in consultation with research institutions and universities in the Wellington region and submitted to the Minister of Research, Science and Innovation in late 2022. This proposal would see 3 new multi-institution research and innovation hubs developed to complement existing infrastructure, such as the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR’s) Kenepuru base:

  • Health and wellbeing corridor from Kelburn to Newtown, including a new pandemic research and response institute.
  • National centre for oceans, climate and hazards research at Greta Point.
  • Research, technology and innovation park in Gracefield, Lower Hutt.

Wellington Science City – a dynamic, future-focused and adaptable centre of research, science and innovation

Configuration of Wellington Science City [PDF, 238 KB]

Building a business case

In Budget 2023, the Government announced a $451 million investment for the construction of Wellington Science City, contingent on Cabinet approval of a programme business.

Collaboration between MBIE, crown infrastructure company Rau Paenga and participating institutions (Callaghan Innovation, University of Otago, Victoria University of Wellington, GNS Science, NIWA, ESR, the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research and Medical Research Institute of New Zealand) will continue throughout 2023 to develop and finalise the programme business case by 1 July 2024.

The development of these new centres will be supported by the Mīmiro Collaboration and Engagement Hub and a Rōpū Māori to rangahua (raise or lift with a lever) outcomes for Māori within the Wellington Science City centres and beyond.

More information

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Last updated: 07 July 2023