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Oliver Driver donates his body to science

For Immediate Release

Oliver Driver donates his body to science

Sunrise host, director and agent provocateur Oliver Driver, has donated his body to science – by becoming an ambassador and celebrity guinea pig for Getparticipants.

No stranger to fronting new ideas, Oliver agreed to help launch this cutting edge Kiwi innovation by spreading the word and registering to be involved.

Getparticipants, which was officially launched last Wednesday, is an online portal connecting researchers and participants. It will ensure the estimated 75% of vital medical research in New Zealand delayed due to lack of participants can be speeded up.

“I’ve been called all-sorts, but the title of Guinea Pig Ambassador for Getparticipants is one I’m proud to have,” says Oliver.

“Let’s face it, we’re all affected by illness and disease at some stage either directly, or through family members or friends. Instead of feeling helpless in the face of this, Getparticipants provides a great way for all sorts of Kiwis to help our medical researchers improve treatments and make important discoveries.”

People are invited to register at the site and provide some basic information that allows Getparticipants to link them to research programmes that are relevant to them, and inform them of opportunities to get involved.

Minister of Research, Science and Technology, Dr. Wayne Mapp said "An entrepreneurial culture will be vital to improving economic growth. To an entrepreneur, a need is an opportunity. Jamie Mannion saw a need, took the opportunity, and has created this service. It is these kinds of clever business ideas that will make a difference and enable us to close the economic gap with Australia."

The idea was born when Jamie was completing his Masters in Exercise Rehabilitation at the University of Auckland and struggled, along with many of his peers, to recruit participants for his project.

“The interesting thing was that most of the participants we found were more than happy to get involved and some mentioned how unfortunate it was that these opportunities weren’t more common. From there I decided that an online market place would be an ideal environment to connect willing participants with researchers,” said Mannion.

Along with Jude Mannion (Jamie’s mother, who is a well know social entrepreneur and founder of the Robin Hood Foundation), Jamie entered his idea to the 2008 SPARK 40K Entrepreneurial Challenge and won first place.

The prize money funded the development of the website, which already has 17 studies listed in areas such as mental health, cardiovascular, children, exercise and social groups.


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