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Crown Research Institutes

Page updated 21 Sep 2015

Crown Research Institutes (CRIs) are Crown-owned companies, or Crown entity companies, whose principal objective is to carry out scientific research for the benefit of New Zealand. Unlike SOEs, the Crown does not expect CRIs to maximise profit, but do expect them to cover their cost of capital.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment(MBIE) is the primary monitoring department for CRIs, with the Commercial Operations Group providing a second-opinion role in relation to CRI financial performance. The Commercial Operations group also plays a key role in the board appointments advice process, working alongside MBIE.


The purpose of every CRI is to undertake research. In fulfilling this purpose, CRIs are required to:

  • ensure that research is undertaken for the benefit of New Zealand
  • pursue excellence in all their activities
  • comply with applicable ethical standards
  • promote and facilitate the application of the results of research and technological developments
  • be a good employer
  • exhibit a sense of social responsibility, and
  • maintain their financially viability.


CRIs have been encouraged to take a greater role in commercialising their own research through the establishment of subsidiaries and joint ventures. CRIs are not fully commercial but need to ensure appropriate commercial disciplines are applied while their scientific purposes are fulfilled. As Crown entity companies, ownership must remain 100% with the Crown. 

CRIs are established by the Crown Research Act 1992, are Crown entity companies under the Crown Entities Act 2004  and are registered as companies and are bound by the provisions of the Companies Act 1993. Not all the provisions of the Crown Entities Act 2004 apply to CRIs.  

Information on individual CRIs is located at Portfolio of Entities - CRIs.

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