$34.5 million for new Centres of Asia-Pacific Excellence

  • Steven Joyce
Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment

Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce has announced $34.5 million in funding to develop new Centres of Asia-Pacific Excellence (CAPEs) in New Zealand universities as part of the Innovative New Zealand package in Budget 2016.

“New Zealand’s future is increasingly tied in with the Asia-Pacific region,” Mr Joyce says. “With some 71 per cent of our total trade already with Asia-Pacific countries, we must secure our future by investing more in preparing our young people to understand the language, culture and economies of this diverse range of countries.”

CAPEs will be cross-institutional centres of excellence in the language, culture, politics and economics of countries or groups of countries within the Asia-Pacific region.  As well as teaching about and researching these countries, they will be mandated to help all learners, exporters, and government agencies improve their understanding of the countries and their languages.

“Each CAPE will develop strong linkages with its region of specialty, facilitate student and faculty exchanges, and become a focal point for New Zealand’s relationship with that part of the world.  I anticipate the CAPEs training language-capable graduates for New Zealand exporters, MFAT, and other government agencies with posts offshore.”

“We initially intend to set up three CAPEs headquartered in universities around the country specialising in countries or groups of countries in North Asia, South East Asia and Latin America.  They will be modelled on the successful Centres of Research Excellence programme.  The TEC will be consulting soon on the details of the programme and seeking expressions of interest.”

The CAPEs programme is a key initiative in the Export Markets stream of the Government’s Business Growth Agenda, and a major initiative in the internationalisation stream of the Tertiary Education Strategy.

“CAPEs are a crucial investment in New Zealand’s future. As a small country we only succeed if we are linked into the global world, and in particular, the Asia Pacific region.  I am confident that this new programme will help develop more globally-connected Kiwis that can lead the way in connecting New Zealand with the Asia-Pacific region and a very prosperous future.