KiwiNet News 22 November 2013

Experts share secrets on selling research to business

Hamilton, 22 November 2013

Selling research to business is the focus for a series of Commercialisation Forums that began this week. The events are being run by The Kiwi Innovation Network (KiwiNet) a research commercialisation consortium focused on helping research organisations to produce more commercial outcomes, be more collaborative and better connected with businesses and international organisations.

Local experts are headlining the events with Brian Ward, CEO of Lower Hutt medical technology firm Mesynthes providing the keynote for this week's event in Wellington. Greg Cross, CEO and Chairman of Auckland based wireless power company PowerbyProxi will headline the Auckland forum on 26 November. Stuart McKenzie, CEO of ArcActive, a company developing new green car battery technology is the keynote speaker for the Christchurch forum on 28 November.

Dr Bram Smith, General Manager of KiwiNet says, "To bridge the gap from the research discovery to the market those involved in research commercialisation need to be skilled not just in technology development and IP protection, but also how to engage with the market and understand softer skills such as gathering market intelligence, pitching and selling. The forums provide a valuable opportunity to share hard won knowledge about how to sell research to business.

"Combining clever research with a sharp commercial focus has been the secret to success for many of our KiwiNet success stories like ArcActive which is commercialising innovative new technology for stop/start batteries in modern cars."

ArcActive's innovation is based on 30 years research by former University of Canterbury researcher Prof John Abrahamson that is now capturing the attention of automakers world wide.

Smith says world leading wireless power company PowerbyProxi, born out of research from the University of Auckland's Engineering School just six years ago, is another inspirational example.

PowerbyProxi is positioned at the front of the wireless revolution to unplug cables in homes and workplaces and has signed up licencing deals with top international companies such as Samsung Electro-Mechanics, TE Connectivity, and Linear Technology Corporation.

Other speakers at the forums include Dr Mary Quin the CEO of Callaghan Innovation, Tenby Powell the Chairman of WaikatoLink Ltd and Director of Hunter Powell Investment Partners, Peter Townsend the CEO of Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce, Dr Andrew Kelly the Executive Director of BioPacificVentures, Hon Ruth Richardson the Chairman of KiwiNet, Dr Andrew Coy the CEO of MagriTek, Mike Manning the General Manager of Ravensdown, and workshop facilitator Sara Leadbetter.

KiwiNet comprises 13 Universities and Crown Research Entities and agencies including WaikatoLink, Plant & Food Research, Otago Innovation Ltd, Lincoln University, AUT Enterprises, AgResearch, University of Canterbury, Callaghan Innovation, Viclink, Landcare Research, Cawthron Institute, ESR and NIWA; representing 6000 researchers or two thirds of the researchers in New Zealand's public research organisations. Principal support is also provided by the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE).

KiwiNet secured $7.5million in Government investment specifically for turning the wealth of discoveries generated by research based organisations into commercial value in June. The funding is allocated through the KiwiNet Investment Committee.

Smith says, "We want to encourage the next wave of KiwiNet innovation success stories by sharing lessons learned."

The forums are part of a programme of KiwiNet initiatives designed to boost commercial outcomes from research by empowering those involved in research commercialisation by helping them access the knowledge, tools, connections, investment and support they need.

For more on KiwiNet and the commercialisation forums visit