Polytech seeking to diversify income base

Alistair Regan
Alistair Regan
Otago Polytechnic aims to more than triple the amount of funding it gets from research and enterprise as it seeks to diversify its income base, the polytechnic's research and enterprise director Alistair Regan says.

Mr Regan said over a "number of years" the polytechnic wanted to see the proportion of funding it received from research and enterprise grow from the 2%-3% it stood at now, to 10% of its income.

Increasing research and enterprise activities would add to the learning opportunities for students, help keep the polytechnic engaged with the latest developments in business and diversify its income.

"At the moment, we are too reliant on the Tertiary Education Commission and to have a more diversified income base would clearly be a bonus," he said.

The polytechnic had already made progress on increasing the funding it received from research and enterprise.

For instance, in this year's performance-based research fund (PBRF) round, polytechnic staff had submitted more than 100 research portfolios, compared with 69 in the previous funding round in 2006.

This would likely see the amount of money the polytechnic receive from the PBRF rise from $695,000 last year to more than a $1 million next year.

Gains in enterprise had also been achieved this year. The polytechnic had confirmed two projects through the Ministry of Science and Innovation technology transfer voucher scheme, which included a $722,000 wind turbine project with Powerhouse Wind.

To increase income further, Mr Regan said he would get a greater percentage of the polytechnic's staff and students involved in research and enterprise activities.

Surplus exceeds $2.5million
The Otago Polytechnic recorded an operating surplus of more than $2.5 million for the year until the end of May, $649,000 better than budgeted.

In a financial report for the year until May, tabled at the Otago Polytechnic Council meeting yesterday, polytechnic chief executive Phil Ker said much of the reason why its surplus was greater than budgeted was due to timing.

The report also revealed a total of 3450.8 equivalent full-time students (EFTS) had enrolled at the polytechnic as of May 31, 19.1 students better than budgeted.

Mr Ker said enrolments were on track to meet budgeted levels for the full year.

Revenue at $34,653,000 was $575,000 better than budgeted and spending at $32,112,000 was $74,000 less than budgeted. Capital expenditure stood at $3.3 million, which was $475,000 more than budgeted.

- vaughan.elder@odt.co.nz


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