6 September 2021
This year marks ten years since the formation of KiwiNet, New Zealand’s national network of public R&D providers. KiwiNet, the company, evolved out of the vision of UniCom, a WaikatoLink-led consortium of four universities, and incorporated mere weeks after Sir Paul Callaghan’s confronting speech to the nation.
Ten years on, KiwiNet represents the joined forces of 18 of New Zealand’s public research organisations, their knowledge and pooled funding, which help propel world-class research into ingenious technologies, and a step closer into the world.
CEO James Hutchison says “A consistent return to New Zealand from technological innovation, job creation and growth in domestic and export earnings of eight-times greater than the PreSeed invested, show the model is working.
“These metrics are impressive. They represent the phenomenal effort from each of our member organisations, and their commercialisation teams behind all the projects that we work with. KiwiNet is part of the commercialisation process, ‘a small but critical nexus’ reaching into our member organisations and out to industry and private investment.”
The real success of KiwiNet’s 10 years has been the growing and maintaining relationships.
“Effective collaboration is not accidental. Our science system was not set up with collaboration or commercialisation in mind, so we are proud to be providing mechanisms and building capabilities to make this thrive. Interventions such as the KiwiNet Emerging Innovator programme and Commercial Mentors are inspiring and transforming our entrepreneurial researchers to be the changemakers.”
Looking ahead, the KiwiNet CEO sees impetus for science commercialisation activity to become more embedded into public research organisations and delivering social, cultural and environmental impact alongside economic return.
KiwiNet is supported through the leadership, governance and guidance of its current Chair Ngaio Merrick, Investment Committee Chair, Debra Hall and Pipeline Committee Chair, Andrew Kelly; and the contributions of former Chair Hon Ruth Richardson, inaugural Investment Committee Chair Peter John who was CEO Lincoln Ventures, and Investment Committee Chair and inaugural Pipeline Committee Chair, Andrew Turnbull.