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2016 KiwiNet Awards finalists showcase clever innovation

2016 KiwiNet Awards finalists showcase clever science driving business innovation

Hamilton, NZ, 12 May 2016 – Twelve innovative researchers and cutting edge research commercialisation projects have been selected as finalists for the fourth annual KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards, designed to celebrate commercialisation success within New Zealand’s universities and Crown Research Institutes.

The clever high-tech innovations pushing the frontiers of business include, silver nanoparticles to treat and prevent dental disease, wood fibre-reinforced plastic, a method for boosting plant growth and controlling disease, laser sensors for sperm sorting, new honey and propolis based supplements, high value functional vegetables, and healing gels from natural products.

The Kiwi Innovation Network (KiwiNet) is a consortium of 15 universities, Crown Research Institutes and a Crown Entity established to boost commercial outcomes from publicly funded research.

General Manager Dr Bram Smith, says, “Every year the awards uncover more inspirational stories of cutting edge research powering business innovation and economic growth. The awards are a tribute to innovative researchers, working withentrepreneurial businesses and passionate Tech-Transfer professionals across New Zealand. Where others see scientific complexity, they see commercial opportunity.”

The 2016 KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards finalists are:

Norman F. Barry Trust Emerging Innovator Award

• Dr Anna Henning, Victoria University of Wellington: Embracing a Boutiq opportunity - leading nanomaterials from the lab to the world

• Dr Daniel Holland, University of Canterbury: Mathematics plus measuremenats equals economic benefit

• Dr Carla Meledandri, University of Otago, The MacDiarmid Institute:Harnessing silver nanoparticles to treat and prevent dental disease

Baldwins Researcher Entrepreneur Award

• Dr Robert Hill, Bio-Protection Research Centre, Lincoln University: Helping key industries to save millions - boosting plant growth and keeping disease under wraps

• Dr. Stephen Moratti, University of Otago: Healing gels from natural products - an exciting new gel material for post-surgical healing

• Associate Professor Cather Simpson, University of Auckland: From sensors to sperm sorting - lighting up NZ’s economy with lasers

MinterEllisonRuddWatts Research & Business Partnership Award

• University of Canterbury and Canterbury Scientific Ltd: Biotechnology research projects to address significant, global diagnostic health problems including diabetes, preeclampsia and hypertension

• Callaghan Innovation and Manuka Health: CycloPower™ bee product based range of dietary supplements

• Scion and Sonae: Woodforce - a high performance wood fibre-reinforced plastic

PwC Commercial Deal Award

• Soft wear by StretchSense: Unleashing fashion on technology - making wearable tech invisible

• Plant & Food Research: vitalvegetables® - high value functional vegetables

• AgResearch: ZeaKal - international spin out helps NZ plant biotechnology gain traction

The BNZ Supreme Award will be presented for overall excellence in all core areas of research commercialisation.

The KiwiNet Awards judging panel comprises: Dr Andrew Kelly, Executive Director at BioPacific Partners, Dr Ray Thomson, angel investor and MacDiarmid Institute Chairman, Helen Robinson, Executive Chair at Organic Initiative, and Rob Heebink, R&D Executive at Gallagher Group.

Lead judge Dr Andrew Kelly says, “It’s great to see the KiwiNet Awards continue to bring out some excellent examples of the art of commercialisation. It’s a capability New Zealand needs more of and our research institutes – all of them – seem to be getting better year after year.”

The Awards are the pinnacle of KiwiNet activities designed to build awareness and inspire research commercialisation success. Sponsorship support is provided by BNZ, Minter Ellison Rudd Watts, PwC, Baldwins, MBIE and Sciencelens photography.

BNZ director – value chain, Jason Lewthwaite says, “At BNZ we are always keen to support innovative approaches to embracing commercial opportunities. We continue to support these awards as they encourage the next generation of innovators and researchers to explore new possibilities and enable a high achieving New Zealand.”

KiwiNet (www.kiwinet.org.nz ) partner organisations include WaikatoLink, Plant & Food Research, Otago Innovation Ltd, Lincoln University, AUT Enterprises, AgResearch, University of Canterbury, Callaghan Innovation, Viclink, Landcare Research, Cawthron Institute, ESR, NIWA, Scion and GNS Science. Principal support is provided by the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE).

Paul Stocks, Deputy Chief Executive of MBIE's Labour, Science and Enterprise group, says commercialisation of research is an important driver of economic growth, which benefits all New Zealanders. “Through collaboration KiwiNet is helping to create greater commercial outcomes from our publicly-funded research, an approach MBIE supports.”

KiwiNet Awards 2016 finalists will deliver a final presentation to judges on 30 June in Auckland and winners will be announced at a reception that evening.

http://img.scoop.co.nz/media/pdfs/1605/Background__KiwiNet_Awards_Finalists_2016.docx

ENDS

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