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Celebrating A University Research Success Story

Media Release 23 October 2008

Celebrating A University Research Success Story

Commercialisation of university research is currently generating a billion dollars for the New Zealand economy through the market capitalisation of spin-out companies.

A publication outlining that success story will be launched at a function at the University of Auckland today. Produced by the universities’ representative body, the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors’ Committee, in conjunction with University Commercialisation Offices of NZ, the publication contains six case studies where the commercial potential of university research outputs have been realised.

The case studies involve the application of research centred on safe transmission of electric currents, cheap and efficient energy generation in the home, environmental management and medical advances.

NZVCC chair Professor Roger Field says linkages between universities, other research providers and private business are especially important in a small country like New Zealand.

“Many of our firms are too small to engage in research and development themselves. Universities help by providing the expertise and knowledge to carry out this research. Strong linkages are required at each stage of the transfer process to ensure that the full benefits of such research are captured.”

Subtitled “paying dividends for New Zealand”, the university research commercialisation publication shows the market capitalisation of university start-up companies has risen rapidly, from $76 million in 2003 to $1.1 billion in 2006.

A research and development survey carried out by Statistics NZ reveals that research in New Zealand universities is worth almost $600 million a year to the universities, accounting for a third of all R&D carried out in this country. The commercialisation of that research provides a far greater return to the economy.

Professor Field says the activity underlines universities’ key role in shifting the New Zealand economy from a reliance on commodities to knowledge-based products with a higher value.

“The success story of the university commercialisation companies is not necessarily well understood and the NZVCC thought it time to share that success more widely.

“Universities can show the pay off to New Zealand and its people from the substantial investment the Government and public make in university teaching and research. Whether it be developing professional careers or assisting the Government attain its economic and social goals through commercialisation of research, universities make a vital contribution in our society.”



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