2019 KiwiNet Awards Winners: NZ’s top research innovation

Hamilton, NZ, 7 August 2019

Winners of the seventh annual KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards, designed to celebrate impact from science through successful research commercialisation within New Zealand’s universities, Crown Research Institutes and other research organisations, were announced at a reception in Auckland this evening.

The 2019 KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards winners are:

Norman Barry Foundation Breakthrough Innovator Award

  • Dr Shalen Kumar, AuramerBio: Precision diagnostics made faster, cheaper, and mobile

Baldwins Researcher Entrepreneur Award

  • Distinguished Professor Dame Margaret Brimble, University of Auckland: Pioneering drug discovery and development

MinterEllisonRuddWatts Commercialisation Professional Award)

  • Will Charles, Auckland UniServices and University of Auckland: Supercharging the commercialisation activities of the University of Auckland

PwC Commercial Impact Award

  • Plant & Food Research and Compac Sorting Equipment: World-leading fruit grading and sorting technologies

Momentum Student Entrepreneur Award

  • Cynthia Hunefeld, Victoria University of Wellington: HerbScience, evidence-based nutraceuticals and integrative medicine

BNZ Supreme Award

  • Distinguished Professor Dame Margaret Brimble, University of Auckland: Pioneering drug discovery and development


KiwiNet Awards lead judge Duncan Mackintosh, an Investment Manager at Brandon Capital Partners, says: "With such a tremendous line-up of entries and finalists we had a seriously tough job as judges. With representatives from across the sector, each and every one were deserving winners and real testament to a sector that is going from strength to strength. We can't wait for next year!"

Mr Mackintosh was joined on the judging panel by Bridget Coates the co-founder of Kura™ and Chairman of White Cloud Dairy Innovation Ltd, entrepreneur Daniel Xu the CEO of Spark 64 and Chair of the Digital Technologies Investment Committee for Return On Science, and angel investor, advisor and director Debra Hall.

KiwiNet CEO James Hutchinson says, "Our awards finalists are the entrepreneurial champions that are leading the transformation of our economy from high-volume to high-value. The success stories we are celebrating today are bringing vital science-based solutions to the world that will drive future prosperity for New Zealand."

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 Barry Foundation, and K1W1. Return On Science provided support as a key partner, with Matū Fund sponsoring the new Momentum Student Entrepreneur category.

Jason Lewthwaite, Senior Partner at BNZ says, "Our congratulations to the winners of the 2019 KiwiNet Awards. It was a privilege to hear from all of the amazing finalists and fabulous to see the innovation occurring around the country. We wish all participants every success into the future."

Paul Stocks, Deputy Chief Executive of MBIE's Labour, Science and Enterprise group, says: "MBIE is responsible for a range of initiatives that help public research organisations translate their research findings into products and services that create value and contribute to wellbeing for New Zealanders. This year's KiwiNet Award winners represent brilliant examples of how New Zealand's innovation system is producing world-leading technologies, and why it's so important that the government continues to invest in the commercialisation of public research."

The Kiwi Innovation Network (KiwiNet) is a consortium of 18 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.

More information on the Winners
2019 KiwiNet Awards Winners

For further information please contact:

Sandra Lukey
Shine Group (PR for KiwiNet)
Phone: +64 21 2262 858
Email: sandra@shinegroup.co.nz