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Bioscience brings in the bucks

Bioscience-based organisations earned at least $677 million for New Zealand last year, with the majority of that coming from exports.

Bioscience-based organisations earned at least $677 million for New Zealand last year, with the majority of that coming from exports.

According to Statistics New Zealand, 150 organisations identified bioscience as their primary focus in 2011, and they generated an average profit of $640,000 from bioscience work compared with an average profit of $117,000 for all organisations in New Zealand.

And of 474 organisations using bioscience as identified in the Bioscience Survey 2011, just over half were applying it to human health and natural products.

Science and technology manager Hamish Hill said many organisations had bioscience as a part of their business so it was hard to establish exact earnings.

"But what we do know is that purely bioscience-based organisations earned $677 million last year, over half of that from exports," he said.

“If we take a broad view of all the organisations using bioscience in some way, they earned $40 billion last year. Clearly that’s not all attributable to bioscience, but it does demonstrate that a large section of the economy is involved in the sector. And two-thirds of the organisations are planning to release new products in the next two years.”

The ‘core’ bioscience organisations employed nearly 2,000 people for bioscience work and tend to be small, with more than two-thirds having less than 10 employees.

Hill said the economic impact of bioscience also includes 330 other organisations that don’t have bioscience as their primary focus, but do use it in research or manufacturing.

The Bioscience Survey 2011 covers areas such as aquaculture, medical testing, microbes, and horticulture, which have applications in fields including health foods, wine and beer manufacturing, animal and plant breeding, as well as in biotechnology.