KiwiNet News 18 June 2015

KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards 2015 winners announced

Auckland, 18 June 2015

Winners of the third annual KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards were announced in Auckland last night, celebrating success within New Zealand’s universities and Crown Research Institutes. Around 250 people attended the Awards reception to bring together the people and technologies changing the research commercialisation landscape in New Zealand.

The 2015 KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards winners are:

  • Researcher Entrepreneur Award: Prof Andy Buchanan, University of Canterbury: Multi-story buildings from renewable resources
  • MinterEllisonRuddWatts Research & Business Partnership Award: Institute for Innovation in Biotechnology at the University of Auckland and Comvita New Zealand Ltd - accelerating innovation by promoting research projects and producing commercially relevant outcomes
  • PwC Commercial Deal Award: Plant & Food Research: Revolutionising plant variety commercialisation - An evolution from transactional plant sales based royalties to participation in commercial success
  • Commercialisation Collaboration Award: The Biopolymer Network Limited: Scion, Plant & Food Research & AgResearch
  • People’s Choice Award: Prof Andy Buchanan, University of Canterbury: Multi-story buildings from renewable resources
  • The BNZ Supreme Award: Prof Andy Buchanan, University of Canterbury: Multi-story buildings from renewable resources

KiwiNet Awards head judge Helen Robinson, a leading director and executive advisor says, “The judges are increasingly impressed with the value creation for New Zealand by the collaboration between CRIs, Universities and Business.

This year's finalists illustrated the sheer diversity of innovation and commercialisation taking place in New Zealand. The finalists showed deep market insight, impressive science, and engagement and relationships built, both locally and internationally. The finalists were made up of clever and disruptive business models designed to deliver maximised return, to the people, the organisations, the customer and our country.”

Helen Robinson was joined on the judging panel by Rob Heebink, R&D Executive at Gallagher Group, professional director Dr Ray Thomson, and Sir Ray Avery, pharmaceutical scientist, inventor, philanthropist, businessman and founder and CEO of Medicine Mondiale.

Dr Bram Smith, General Manager of KiwiNet says, “The 2015 awards have uncovered more exciting stories of kiwi scientists powering disruptive business innovation. These people are quietly revolutionising the New Zealand innovation landscape.

The awards celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit of those who strive to bridge the gap between clever science and innovative business. We hope this event will inspire the next generation of innovative researchers and entrepreneurs.”

The KiwiNet Awards are the pinnacle of KiwiNet activities designed to build awareness and inspire research commercialisation success. Sponsorship support is provided by BNZ, MinterEllisonRuddWatts , PwC, MBIE and Sciencelens photography.

BNZ director-value chain, Jason Lewthwaite says, that while an imperative to New Zealand’s economic growth, the process of moving from idea to commercialisation cannot be underestimated.
“Turning a great idea into an exportable, profitable proposition is not a step, it’s a leap. It involves significant levels of commitment and courage.

“BNZ’s collaboration with KiwiNet ensures a strong and experienced network is wrapped around these business to provide the skills, experience and connections to give them the best chance of ongoing commercial success.”

Peter Crabtree, general manager of MBIE’s People, Science and Enterprise Policy group, says “Commercialisation of research plays an important role in growing New Zealand’s economy. Those being recognised today at the KiwiNet Awards should inspire the innovative spirit in all New Zealanders.”

Prof Andy Buchanan, University of Canterbury with Dr Andy Pearce, Director, BNZ
Richard Wells, MinterEllisonRuddWatts with Dr Ralf Schlothauer CTO of Comvita and Mark Burgess, Director, Institute for Innovation in Biotechnology University of Auckland
Wendy Cashmore Manager Plant Varieties, Plant & Food Research, and Andrew MacKenzie, Business Development Manager, Plant & Food Research, with Scott Kerse, PwC.
The Biopolymer Network: Dr Nigel Larsen from Plant & Food Research, Steve Ranford from AgResearch Ltd and Dr Kate Parker from Scion with Hon Steven Joyce.
Photos: Gerry Le Roux, Sciencelens