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KiwiNet Awards winners

2018 KiwiNet Awards winners showcase NZ’s best research-rich innovation

HAMILTON, July 6, 2018 - Winners of the sixth annual KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards, designed to celebrate impact from science through successful research commercialisation within New Zealand’s universities and Crown Research Institutes, were announced at a reception in Auckland last night.

The 2018 KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards winners are:

Norman F. B. Barry Foundation Breakthrough Innovator Award

• Dr Vlatko Matericě, Hot Lime Labs: Hot Lime’ to increase greenhouse crop yields and help feed the world.

Baldwins Researcher Entrepreneur Award

• Associate Professor Taehyun Rhee, Victoria University of Wellington: Taking New Zealand’s virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology to the world.

MinterEllisonRuddWatts Research & Business Partnership Award

• AUT and the NZ SKA Alliance: Square Kilometre Array Radio Telescope (SKA) – NZ is a member of its first ever global mega-science project jointly undertaking research and design behind the world’s largest radio telescope.

PwC Commercial Impact Award

• Plant & Food Research: Amarasate® Extract – 100% plant-based, world-first weight management extract.

BNZ Supreme Award
(Judges vote combined with public vote)

• Dr Andrew Kralicek, Plant & Food Research: Harnessing insects’ receptors for commercial sensing

Lead KiwiNet Awards judge Dr Andrew Kelly, Executive Director at BioPacific Partners says, “The judges were really thrilled with the calibre of the 2018 Awards. Over time, it’s clear the “story telling” of commercialisation is getting better and better. And the scope of the stories is growing too and some of this year’s stories were breath-taking in the scope and scale of what they are trying to achieve. The 2018 Awards have given us more hope than ever before that the future of this country is through innovation and commercialisation.”

Dr Kelly was joined on the judging panel by Helen Robinson (ONZM) the Executive Chair at Organic Initiative, Paul Dyson an entrepreneur and non-executive director, and Veronica Harwood-Stevenson the founder of humble bee and Spindle Fibre Films and a member of the Return on Science Momentum Investment Committee.

KiwiNet CEO James Hutchinson says, “The winners represent amazing teams from around the country who are creating commercial potential from their highly innovative science, which will help enable a higher achieving New Zealand. All of the finalists’ research projects and new technologies we’ve seen today have the power to help solve global problems and kick-start valuable new companies.”

The annual KiwiNet Awards are designed to recognise and celebrate impact from science through successful research commercialisation. Sponsorship support is provided by BNZ, MinterEllisonRuddWatts, PwC, Baldwins, MBIE, Norman F. B. Barry Foundation and Sciencelens photography.

Jason Lewthwaite, Senior Partner at BNZ says, “Congratulations to all the winners and indeed finalists for 2018, for all of the hard work and dedication it has taken to get to this point. This event puts the spotlight on what can be achieved through commercialising great Kiwi innovation and research.”

Paul Stocks, Deputy Chief Executive of MBIE's Labour, Science and Enterprise group, says “The winners at this year’s KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards showcase some of New Zealand’s most innovative research. The work they are doing is of huge importance to New Zealand and the challenges we face, so I congratulate the winners tonight on their accomplishments.”

The Kiwi Innovation Network (KiwiNet) is a consortium of 16 universities, Crown Research Institutes, an Independent Research Organisation and a Crown Entity established to boost commercial outcomes from publicly funded research by helping to transform scientific discoveries into new products and services.

For more information on the KiwiNet Awards winners see

Images from the KiwiNet Awards (evening 5 July):
KiwiNet Awards’ winner profile images with technology:


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