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University Innovation Institute China seizes opportunities

University Innovation Institute China seizes opportunities

The University of Auckland Innovation Institute China (UOAIIC) has seized opportunities to further develop and commercialise its research and to provide a springboard for innovative New Zealand companies and researchers who want to collaborate and tap into the local market.

The University’s knowledge transfer company, UniServices, has established the institute in the Chinese city of Hangzhou, the capital of Zheijiang province. Hangzhou is the self-described Silicon Valley of China and is a base for many leading multi-national corporations and technology leaders.

At the UOAIIC’s official opening today, which was attended by over 150 invited guests the Minister of Science and Innovation and Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment, Hon. Paul Goldsmith witnessed the signing of a collaborative Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the UOAIIC and Zhejiang University Industrial Research Institute. UniServices General Manager International, Dr Lisbeth Jacobs says the parties will carry out joint events and activities including a University of Auckland Commercialisation Conference organized by UOAIIC in December this year with key researchers presenting from both the University of Auckland and Zhejiang University.

Minister Goldsmith said at the launch that New Zealand’s government views scientific and innovation cooperation with China with high regard.

“Underpinned by strong and enduring science partnerships between New Zealand and Chinese scientists, some spanning decades, it seems a natural next step that the University of Auckland would set up an Institution in Hangzhou,” he said.

UniServices CEO Dr Andy Shenk says the new UOAIIC building and the new team in Hangzhou demonstrate the organisation’s commitment to growing in China.

“We have committed to our Chinese partners that we will be here for the long haul, working alongside them for the mutual benefit of us all.”

“The Innovation Institute provides unprecedented access to an extensive range of networks, research and funding opportunities in China,” says Dr Jacobs.

“The UOAIIC covers 2,800 square metres so we have space available and would welcome other research institutions, universities, and NZ start-up companies to co-locate in the building. The office is an ideal base for working in China as it’s only an hour from Shanghai on the fast train,” she adds.

The UOAIIC office itself has a distinctly Kiwi style and has been designed by a NZ design firm based in China called Prospace. The interior features large panoramic prints of Rangitoto Island and South Island lakes, relaxed break-out areas (including an open meeting space in the shape of a marae) and uses bright, bold colours reminiscent of a Kiwi summer.

Prospace design director, Richard Stanton says: "While it was important to evoke New Zealand culture in the design we were also aware that it needed to acknowledge the practical and technical nature of the business as well its physical location in China."

The Innovation Institute allows the University of Auckland, UniServices and its partners to:

· Develop stronger local relationships in China with local and central government, Chinese universities and research institutes, Chinese companies and international companies with a presence in China.

· Provide access to a wider range of public and private good funding opportunities in China to support research at the University of Auckland.

· Improve market knowledge and market access, and enable the UOAIIC to hire staff in China allowing the University to undertake a wider scope of projects across China.

“The UOAIIC is already well on the way to becoming a world-class centre for research and innovation,” says Dr Jacobs.


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