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Awards winners showcase science powering business innovation

Commercialisation Awards winners showcase science powering business innovation

Hamilton, NZ, 1 July 2016 – Winners of the fourth annual KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards, designed to celebrate commercialisation success within New Zealand’s universities and Crown Research Institutes, were announced at a reception in Auckland last night.

The 2016 KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards winners are:

Norman F. B. Barry Foundation Emerging Innovator Award: Joint winners:

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

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

Baldwins Researcher Entrepreneur Award:

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

MinterEllisonRuddWatts Research & Business Partnership Award:

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

PwC Commercial Deal Award:

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

BNZ Supreme Award
– for overall excellence in all core areas of research commercialisation:

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

Lead KiwiNet Awards judge and KiwiNet Investment Committee member Dr Andrew Kelly, Executive Director at BioPacific Partners says, “Yet again the standard of entries for the KiwiNet Awards continued to rise. It was notable that more sophisticated commercialisation processes are being used; such as public private partnerships and long term research business collaborations. The sheer level of entrepreneurial talent was also impressive.”

Dr Kelly was joined on the judging panel by Dr Ray Thomson, angel investor and MacDiarmid Institute Chairman, Helen Robinson,professional director and Co-Founder at Organic Initiative, and Rob Heebink, R&D Executive at Gallagher Group.

KiwiNet General Manager Dr Bram Smith, says, “There are so many exciting examples of science powering business innovation in the research community. To quote one of the finalists today, sometimes even science that is initially seen as operating in the fringe ends up creating immense commercial value for the New Zealand economy. That’s a story we see often in research commercialisation. Whether it’s using gaming technology to find oil, using lasers to increase productivity in the dairy industry, or fungi instead of fungicides to help plants grow, the opportunities are as diverse as they are exciting.”

The KiwiNet 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 Head of Agribusiness, John Janssen, says, “Today’s winners have developed some clever high-tech innovations that will create a range of new businesses and contribute to a high achieving New Zealand. We’re very pleased to be celebrating their dedication to innovation and their success.”

Paul Stocks, Deputy Chief Executive, MBIE, says “Commercialisation of our publicly-funded research into new innovations helps grow the economy, which in turn benefits all New Zealanders. The KiwiNet Awards are a fantastic celebration of the ideas of New Zealand’s best and brightest researchers, and the teams and organisations that support them.”

The Kiwi Innovation Network (KiwiNet) is a consortium of 16 universities, Crown Research Institutes and a Crown Entity established to boost commercial outcomes from publicly funded research. Principal support is also provided by the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE).

For more information on the KiwiNet Awards winners see


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