KiwiNet News 11 February 2015

Scion becomes shareholder of KiwiNet research commercialisation consortium

Hamilton, New Zealand, 11 February 2015

Crown Research Institute Scion has become a shareholding partner of the Kiwi Innovation Network (KiwiNet), a consortium of Universities, Crown Research Institutes and Crown Entities dedicated to taking a collaborative approach to research commercialisation.  KiwiNet’s 14 partner organisations encompass around 70% of New Zealand’s science capability with over 7000 research staff and a collective research spend of around $1 billion.

Scion becomes shareholder of KiwiNet
Left to right: Hon Ruth Richardson, Chair, KiwiNet with Andrew Turnbull, Chair of the KiwiNet Investment Committee and Scion’s Chief Executive, Warren Parker.

Scion joins KiwiNet partner organisations 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.  Principal support is also provided by the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE).

Dr Bram Smith, General Manager of KiwiNet says, “We’re delighted to welcome Scion as a KiwiNet partner.  Scion will both benefit from the collective capability that KiwiNet has built up and further strengthen the network by bringing valuable new IP, knowledge and contacts which will also benefit other partners.”

Scion specialises in research, science and technology development for the forestry industry and the manufacturing industries that use forest derived and other biomaterials to produce high value products.

Scion’s Chief Executive Warren Parker says, “We looking forward to working within and contributing to KiwiNet’s collaborative ethos and through this further strengthening our commercialisation capacity and partnerships through the extensive KiwiNet network.   Commercialisation is a critical and growing part of what we do as we work with industry representatives and investors to improve the international competitiveness of New Zealand forestry and its related manufacturing industries. We are confident KiwiNet can help us achieve an even greater impact with the sectors we work with as well as open up new opportunities for our technologies in other industries.”

Parker says Scion’s commercialisation success stories range across the forest industry’s value chain and include improved tree genetics, a decision support forecasting model now used to manage half of New Zealand and Australian softwood plantations, new materials and products from wood fibre such as wood plastics, and environmental technologies such as TERAX™ that converts municipal sewage or wastewater into energy and useful products.

“We also have a number of exciting portfolio of new products for our industry and customers in the pipeline and KiwiNet will be very helpful as we look to commercialise those for maximum benefit to them and to create more high wage jobs and export revenue for the country,” he says.

Dr Smith says, “Diverse skills and networks are needed to ensure research innovations are developed effectively and transferred to organisations that need them.  The collective approach to research commercialisation taken by KiwiNet’s partners is proving very successful and is translating into real returns for the New Zealand economy.”

The KiwiNet portfolio of commercial opportunities is expanding and the economic impact of successful commercialisation projects is continuing to grow. Over the 2014 calendar year, KiwiNet invested $3,548,437 of PreSeed investment from MBIE into 108 projects which have a combined potential export earnings to New Zealand of $180 million. In total KiwiNet has now invested $11.4 million of PreSeed into 342 projects worth a potential $680 million to export revenue.

KiwiNet was formed in July 2011 to to increase the scale and impact of scientific and technology based innovation in New Zealand by empowering those involved in research commercialisation by helping them access the knowledge, tools, connections, investment and support they need.

For further information please contact:
Sandra Lukey
Shine Group (PR for KiwiNet)
Cell: +64 21 2262 858

Russell Burton
Phone +64 7 343 5417