The importance of leading the University of Otago’s Applied Science Programme by example is something Dr Stephen J. Sowerby is acutely aware of and a firm believer in. An entrepreneurial researcher himself, Dr Sowerby strives to impart the value of commercially-focused research to his Applied Science students and other academic staff members.
In order to do this he draws on his experiences in science innovation and enterprise and in particular from the two companies he co-founded around his most recent inventions. The first had research and industrial applications in nanoparticle analysis, while the second in New Zealand’s vitally important agricultural sector. Not limited to New Zealand though, the owners of these technologies are taking them to the world.
As evidenced through his achievements to date, Dr Sowerby’s research ethos aligns strongly with government signals that seek commercially applicable outcomes from publicly funded research. While he is very comfortable striving to solve industrial problems through science, this focus also extends to his primary research curiosity in new ways of analyzing single molecules of DNA and in the chemical origins of life as a route to novel nanotechnologies.