KiwiNet News 25 November 2011

KiwiNet signs cooperation agreement with The Texas A&M University System to take technologies to new markets

Hamilton, New Zealand - 25 November 2011

KiwiNet, a commercialisation consortium of universities and crown research institutes, today announced a new cooperation agreement with The Texas A&M University System, one of the largest and most respected research organizations in the United States. KiwiNet and the A&M System will work cooperatively to identify commercialization opportunities, particularly in agriculture.

KiwiNet and the A&M System Office of Technology Commercialization will identify and bring forward client companies that have an interest in moving into the New Zealand and US market respectively under the memorandum of understanding. The parties will also identify companies and technologies that could expand through cooperative development and commercialization opportunities in other regions.

Duncan Mackintosh and Brett Cornwell

Duncan Mackintosh, Chief Executive of WaikatoLink, a KiwiNet member says, "Sharing each other's technology, capital, entrepreneurs, incubators, and partner networks will open up an array of opportunities that would otherwise not be available to us. KiwiNet represents a new generation of collaboration and alignment as we're connecting technologies and expertise across the country, providing a national support network, and working to take technologies offshore through international connections like this."

Brett Cornwell, Associate Vice Chancellor for Commercialization, The Texas A&M University System says, "This agreement signifies a real commitment to work together. KiwiNet's national portfolio approach is a very attractive proposition for us to connect with as it has scale and credibility in the region. Our visit to New Zealand has been a great opportunity to solidify this agreement and further get to know the people we'll be working with." The visit was funded by the Ministry of Science and Innovation.

Agriculture and sustainability is a key area of focus for cooperation and KiwiNet and the A&M System have started to identify synergies around projects. They will work together to realize market studies, business plans, market validation and market entry strategies. A collaborative approach will also be employed to encourage multinationals in the R&D field to participate in research programs both within the A&M System and at research organisations in New Zealand involved in projects.

Cornwell continues, "By building a stronger global innovation network we can achieve greater impact. We're keen to replicate the success we've had with a similar agreement with AWEX, the Wallonia Foreign Trade and Investment Agency in the Walloon region of Belgium, which has linked us into Europe. KiwiNet will be a great way for us to connect into Australasian and other markets. KiwiNet will be able to tap into our networks to help move technologies

The Texas A&M University System boasts a network of eleven universities, seven state agencies and a comprehensive health science center. The A&M System educates more than 120,000 students and reaches another 22 million people through service and outreach programs every year. With 28,000 faculty and staff, the A&M System has annual research expenditures exceeding US$ 772 million.

KiwiNet was launched in July to increase the scale and impact of commercialisation in New Zealand by facilitating a more collaborative and capable commercialisation system. The core organisations in KiwiNet have a research spend of over $500 million and covers 6,300 research staff and 127 commercialisation staff.

KiwiNet, which acts as a hub for commercialisation for its member organisations as well as the wider innovation system, is also supported by the Ministry of Science and Innovation as part of its commitment to commercialisation.

Mackintosh says, "Where we are influences how and where we do business. For every node we add to our network we see exponential benefits. We're really keen to work with others who share our vision both nationally and internationally to create as many benefits as we can by transferring technologies to the marketplace

For further information please contact:

Sandra Lukey
Shine Group
Phone: (03) 374 6753; Cell: +64 21 2262 858