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Barker goes in to bat for bioscience

Barker goes in to bat for bioscience

Auckland August 5 2014: Biotechnologist and patent attorney Dr Will Barker has tackled some tough assignments in his career. Now he has a new one.

Barker has taken on the job of leading NZBIO, New Zealand's principal independent organisation representing the full breadth of interests across the biotechnology sector. Once it thrived with Government backing, but in the restructured, contestable world of science funding, NZBIO has to make sure biotech gets not only heard, but its fair share of the pie.

Barker says he can point to multiple examples why Kiwis should continue to back bioscience. He comes from one of the most significant ones in recent times – LanzaTech. As a qualified patent attorney, Dr Barker's led LanzaTech’s IP strategy development and commercialisation activities.

Now a multinational, multimillion dollar company and a world leader in gas fermentation technology, LanzaTech in the main has headed offshore and is headquartered in the United States. Barker, for his belief in New Zealand’s potential in bioscience, for family reasons and for their lifestyle, has elected to remain.

Since gaining his PhD in synthetic chemistry in the United Kingdom, Barker has held a number of roles in New Zealand, including post-doctoral research and laboratory investigation. He says the science community in New Zealand is innovative and entrepreneurial and he wants to do his bit to encourage and to help continue develop that.

Barker replaces Dr George Slim whom the chairman of NZBIO Dr Gavin Ross says worked hard and contributed strongly to the organisation’s 11 year history.


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