KiwiNet News 17 June 2013

KiwiNet awards to honour innovative discoveries with commercial promise

Hamilton, New Zealand - 17 June 2013

Winners of the inaugural KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards will be announced at an awards function on Wednesday in Auckland. The two-day forum and awards dinner, sponsored by BNZ, the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE), AJ Park and Sciencelens, will bring together and celebrate the people and technologies changing the research commercialisation landscape in New Zealand.

Dr Bram Smith, General Manager of KiwiNet says, "The KiwiNet awards celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit. Research Commercialisation is about turning exciting scientific discoveries made at New Zealand's universities and Crown Entities into innovative products and services that will grow our economy. Our finalists highlight the success that can come from collaboration between research organisations, partnerships between researchers and business, and entrepreneurial researchers."

The twelve finalists in the KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards, who will present in front of a panel of judges on 19th June for top honours, are:

Commercialisation Collaboration Award:

  • Plant and Food Research: Land use change and intensification
  • Aldera Health: A collaboration to develop an animal and plant corridor in New Zealand
  • Callaghan Innovation: Ovine Automation Consortium

Researcher Entrepreneur Award:

  • Dr John Abrahamson, ArcActive (nominated by Research & Innovation, University of Canterbury)
  • Professors John Boys and Grant Covic, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, University of Auckland (nominated by UniServices)
  • Professors William Denny and William Wilson, Co-Directors of Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre (ACSRC) (nominated by UniServices)

Research & Business Partnership Award:

  • AUT: Growing the New Zealand surf clam industry with the Cloudy Bay Group
  • Lincoln University: The New Zealand Seed Industry Alliance
  • Callaghan Innovation: Advanced Sonar Technology

Commercial Deal Award:

  • WaikatoLink: Aduro Biopolymers - bioplastic made from bloodmeal
  • Grasslanz Technology Limited: Innovative plant technologies
  • Otago Innovation Limited: TOXINZ Success

The judging panel comprises Dr Andrew Kelly, Executive Director at BioPacificVentures, award winning entrepreneur Bill Day, professional director and Angel Association Chairman Dr Ray Thomson, and director and executive advisor Helen Robinson, the founding CEO of TZ1. The People's Choice Supreme Award will be decided by popular vote by the audience.

The awards will be presented at the evening awards reception with guest speakers Sir Ray Avery, KiwiNet Board Chair Hon Ruth Richardson, Dr Andrew Kelly the Chair of KiwiNet Awards Evaluation Panel and Craig Richardson an Independent Director at Callaghan Innovation and Managing Director at Wynyard Group.

BNZ director – value chain, Jason Lewthwaite, says that the access to tools, investment and support provided by KiwiNet offers greater opportunity for New Zealand businesses to develop higher value products and services to take advantage of the massive export opportunity.

"The future of New Zealand's economy lies in our ability to turn good ideas into commercial businesses. Ultimately this will deliver greater margin, more sustainable business performance, more employment opportunities and stronger communities."

The awards day (10am – 4.15pm) and evening reception (6pm – 9.15pm) will run back-to-back with the biannual KiwiNet Commercialisation Forum on 20 June at the Viaduct Events Centre in Auckland. For more on the KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards and Forum see