Government stumps up $85m for problematic Lincoln Uni innovation hub

The government will inject $85 million to make sure Lincoln University's problematic building project to create an innovation hub gets over the line.

Tertiary Education Minister Paul Goldsmith today announced the capital injection for the university's $206.4 million project to be a cornerstone of Christchurch city's planned innovation hub. The 27,000 square metre joint facility with AgResearch has been under the Treasury's watchful eye, getting an amber/red rating on the department's list of major projects due to "key areas which still require development, primarily the direct investment objectives, financial options, and approach to change management". Lincoln and AgResearch downplayed those concerns, saying earlier issues had been resolved and the main risk was of tight deadlines was being actively managed.

"The new facility will make an important contribution to creating a globally competitive agri-tech industry," Goldsmith said in a statement. "By creating better links between research and industry the new facility will improve innovation and the applicability and speed of technology transfer to industry."

The government approved the redevelopment in 2014, agreeing to in-principle capital funding of up to $100 million depending on the university's earthquake payout. Last year, Lincoln University agreed to a $25.7 million settlement with insurers, on top of earlier payments totalling $32.6 million.

The hub made up of five buildings will accommodate about 700 staff, students and academics, with research and teaching space for the university, labs for AgResearch, and corporate facilities and offices for DairyNZ.

Construction is expected to start in the coming weeks and be completed by the end of next year.


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