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$25 Million For Innovative Solutions In Response To COVID-19

Government is investing $25 million to speed up the trial and deployment of innovations to help New Zealand’s response to COVID-19, says Research, Science and Innovation Minister Dr Megan Woods.

The COVID-19 Innovation Acceleration Fund is aimed at the fast development of new products and services that could help to detect, diagnose, treat or prevent COVID-19, by supporting Research & Development, prototyping and pre-production activities.

“Scientists, researchers and innovators in New Zealand and across the globe, are working hard to resolve the myriad of challenges COVID-19 presents. Working across government, the research sector and with businesses to respond hard and fast against the serious global health threat is vital, and this new Fund supports New Zealand’s problem solvers to get cutting-edge products and services to market quickly,” said Megan Woods.

The fund which was established in March has already allocated $6.75 million to projects so far, including:

  • Supporting the validation of technology that can detect COVID-19 antibodies in blood (Digital Sensing Ltd)
  • Supporting the development of a simple, versatile ventilator, capable of ventilating COVID-19 patients at the different stages of disease progression (ES Plastics)
  • Supporting early stage research investigating the development of a potential COVID-19 vaccine.

“We are working across government to develop a vaccine strategy with the research and science community, and potential vaccine manufacturers. While that strategy is being developed, I’m proud to say that we’ve been able to support researchers with part-funding through this Fund to allow them to start getting on with this important work.

“I’m excited to see how quickly the research, science and innovation sector has responded to this challenge and I’m confident that together we’ll be able to come up with some exciting solutions,” said Megan Woods.

Eligible proposals must have a direct impact on addressing COVID-19 in the short (6 months) and medium term (within 18 months). Funding will include the costs of research and development, product development, prototyping, tooling up and pre-production activities.

Projects approved under COVID Innovation Accelerator Fund as of 6 May 2020.

OrganisationProject titleTotal amount rewarded
Digital Sensing LtdMass-production of Point-of-Care Diagnostics for COVID19 and Blood Based BiomarkersUp to $500,000
The Cacaphony Project LtdTe Kahu Ora "The cloak of health" (a thermal camera human screening device and supporting monitoring platform)$914,500
SaferMe LimitedBusiness focused COVID-19 management solutions$396,000
ElbawareHaptic technology to reduce face touching and risk of COVID-19 transmission.Up to $200,000
Orion HealthNational Algorithm Management Solution for COVID-19$828,000
Ubiquitome LimitedEnabling and maintaining a COVID-19 free New Zealand with rapidly deployable, community-level SARS-COV2 testing$528,927
Auckland UniServices LimitedAn innovative remote body temperature monitoring solution to reduce the spread of COVID-19$264,124
ES Plastics LtdMechanical Ventilator Development ready for manufacture of 100 units per day.$457,000
Pictor LtdDevelopment of a multiplex immunoassay for detection of COVID-19 infection in less than an hour.$500,000
Trinity Bioactives LtdDevelopment of Novel Lateral Flow Devices for the Rapid Detection of Coronavirus-19 (COVID-19) Infection$650,000
Avalia Immunotherapies LimitedAddressing security of supply for a SARS-CoV-2 prophylactic vaccine for New Zealanders, now and in the futureUp to $100,000

More information can be found here on MBIE’s website.

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