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University Of Auckland Makes Key Appointments

The University of Auckland aims to further strengthen its research links with industry, business and other research organisations by encouraging co-location on and around its Tamaki campus, and extending this model to other campuses.

University of Auckland Vice-Chancellor Dr John Hood said there was growing recognition among local and international business leaders and Government that New Zealand must find ways of marrying the interests of research-led universities, industry, business and research institutes.

"If universities are to attract and retain high quality staff and continue to pursue internationally significant research, they must look at new ways of encouraging these linkages.

"There are good examples internationally of innovative universities working alongside other research entities or directly with the private sector. California’s Silicon Valley, for example, has strong links with Stanford University. Cambridge, Oxford and Glasgow universities, as well as the University of New South Wales and the Australian National University have also successfully developed productive research-based relationships with other organisations.

"The challenge now is for The University of Auckland to apply the lessons from these international models to its own campuses.

"The University has this week appointed three people who will be pivotal to the success of the institution’s efforts in this arena," said Dr Hood.

The University’s Dean of Science Professor Ralph Cooney has been appointed to the position of Pro Vice-Chancellor Tamaki and the Chief Executive of the Great New Zealand Business Venture Ms Bridget Wickham will become the Chief Executive of the newly created University of Auckland Developments Limited.

Professor Cooney’s role will include facilitating the academic development of the campus along with research alliances that focus the development of The University of Auckland at Tamaki as a thematic innovation campus with a strong science and technology underpinning.

Ms Wickham’s role will be to spearhead the development of stronger, more diverse and productive relationships between the University and industry, business and research institutes. She will commence in early November.

Mr Geoff Whitcher was recently appointed Commercial Director of The University of Auckland Developments Limited. This will be a part time role working with Ms Wickham.

In addition to heading the Great New Zealand Business Venture Ñ an organisation dedicated to helping people successfully establish new businesses Ñ Ms Wickham is also a board member of Industry New Zealand. She is currently a member of The University of Auckland Council, and will remain in this role until her term ends late next year.

Professor Cooney has been the Dean of Science at The University of Auckland for eight years. He has been deeply involved in developing the strategic plan for The University of Auckland at Tamaki, and the concept of a research precinct linking the campus with business and other research organisations.

Dr Hood said two recent initiatives provided examples of the new focus being applied to the University’s research efforts.

"This year we launched NeuronZ, a biomedical company aimed at commercialising intellectual property developed within its Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences. It has also established the Liggins Institute which brings together three leading research teams to perform medical research of the highest possible international standing, transfer knowledge to the clinical arena, and exploit the intellectual property arising from the Institute’s research.

"With the appointments of Ms Wickham and Professor Cooney, The University of Auckland has two people with the combined academic, business management and visionary attributes to further the collaboration between the University and business and research communities," said Dr Hood.

-end-

For further information contact:

Bill Williams Public Relations Officer The University of Auckland Ph. 373 7599 ext 7698

---------------------- Bill Williams Public Relations Officer The University of Auckland Private Bag 92019 Auckland New Zealand

Room G32, Old Choral Hall 7 Symonds Street, Auckland

Phone 64-9-373 7599 ext 7698 Fax 64-9-373 7047


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