KiwiNet Newsletter - December 2014

Empowering People Who Commercialise Research

Welcome to the Christmas edition of the KiwiNet newsletter.  Thanks to everyone who has supported KiwiNet and contributed their time and talent to another successful year. Best wishes from the KiwiNet team!

National Commercialisation Forum

Spanning Science to Startup and Beyond 

95+ people from across the country gathered at New Zealand's premier event for commercialisation professionals. Delegates packed the Novotel for a day of inspiring speakers, targeted break out sessions and the chance to tap into a nation-wide network of experience and inspiration in the tech transfer space...

Pictured: Jeremy Jones, Commercialisation Manager, KiwiNet pitches his team's idea. See if you can spot Seumas and Jeremy in this highlights video.

A Startup experience to remember!

On a rainy weekend in November, "KiwiNetters", Jeremy and Seumas threw themselves in headfirst to check out the Auckland Start-up weekend at GridAKL (

If you’ve never heard of start-up weekends, they are an intense 54 hours of entrepreneurial energy that mashes people from all sorts of backgrounds together in a competition to design, build and launch a start-up all in a single weekend!

The boys also took along with them VUW PhD student Jasmine Chan-Hyams as an experiment to see how much fun a scientist would have in this environment. The conclusion was - a lot! Everybody had an amazing time especially considering only getting around 6 hours sleep the whole weekend... So if you have ever thought to yourself ,“I have an idea for a business, but don’t know where to start” then these weekends provide a great environment for testing out ideas and learning the skills required to start turning that idea into a business. The team thoroughly recommends checking out your next local start-up weekend for an exciting voyage out of your comfort zone.

Also, congratulations to the winning team on the weekend “BasketTrack”  (, who were a team of developers from AUT with an ingenious customer behaviour analytics technology using Bluetooth beacons and receivers. If you’re curious to hear more about the weekend get in contact with the team as I’m sure the boys will be keen to share stories of their adventure for many weeks to come. Keep an eye out on our website for how this field trip is set to influence the KiwiNet training programmes for 2015.


Pictured: (L) Geoff Bates from Callaghan Innovation receiving the best idea award from (R) Ted Cully, Sanford.


Sanford's challenges solved by NZ research organisations

Commercial fishing giant, Sanford, called on NZ's publicly funded research institutions to pitch their best ideas directly to industry and innovation funders at the workshop associated with the AquacultureNZ conference.

Sanford Limited worked with the KiwiNet Business Challenge model to uncover novel proposals for high-speed automated technologies that will help it process its current daily rate of 1.5 million mussels.  Researchers at New Zealand’s public research organisations pitched ideas to improve mussel processing in Nelson at the AquacultureNZ Technical Day, Oct 22 in a bid to win $5,000 of prototype development funding and the opportunity to work with Sanford to develop their solution for commercial application. 

Ted Culley, Sanford’s Aquaculture Manager says that while Sanford already has strong relationships with many research agencies the KiwiNet Business Challenge is a great way build a stronger report with researchers and to focus attention on key business areas.

The Sanford KiwiNet Business Challenge showcased ten proposals from AUT University, Cawthron Institute, University of Otago, Callaghan Innovation and Victoria University. The winner on the day was Callaghan Innovation on a clever approach to solving the challenge of automated notification of failed navigation lights.

‘Liquid gold’ marine biotoxins backed by KiwiNet have huge payoff potential with global partnership

Cawthron Institute to supply laboratories worldwide with unique, high value marine biotoxins through agreement with Sigma-Aldrich Corporation.

Unique marine biotoxins discovered by Cawthron Institute worth up to one million times the value of gold will be supplied to laboratories worldwide under a global distribution agreement with international analytical and chemical company Sigma-Aldrich Corporation. 

The project, which has received crucial PreSeed funding and expertise from KiwiNet to turn Cawthron’s highly-regarded marine toxin and food safety research into an investable proposition, has the potential to create up to ten high-skill jobs at Cawthron and generate significant returns back to New Zealand.

Great talk on IP and why it matters from AJ Park

The MacDiarmid Institute Emerging Scientists Association (MESA) held their annual science symposium in November and this year they had a focus on commercialisation calling it “Get It Out”.

KiwiNet was delighted to be involved helping them to put the event together, when we were asked if we could provide a session on IP and protecting their discoveries we knew our friends at AJ Park could help us out. David Simunic gave us a great talk on the importance of considering IP at the beginning of your research, not just at the end once you decide it has value. It was very entertaining with some great examples to illustrate the concepts.

The symposium also had a poster session where PhD students were asked to communicate their research to a business audience. AJ Park generously sponsored a communication award for this competition. Congratulations to Julie Kho from the University of Auckland who was the recipient for her poster about her work in solar cell design. 

A huge thank you to David (pictured) and AJ Park for providing us with support over 2014.

Thanks to our Corporate Partners!

Their support and enthusiasm really helps us to connect people and create valuable collaboration opportunities.

About KiwiNet

KiwiNet is a consortium of New Zealand universities and Crown Research Institutes and agencies who are dedicated to creating growth for our country. We combine our capability to increase the commercial scale and impact of scientific and technology based innovation. KiwiNet's role is to empower people involved in research commercialisation by helping them access the tools, connections, investment and support they need.

It's time to shine at the 2015 KiwiNet Awards!

Entries for the 2015 KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards will open on 14th January 2015, so now's the time to start thinking about what great people, projects and partnerships you can enter!

Check out the highlights video from this year's event to draw some inspiration.

Categories are:
- Commercialisation Collaboration Award
- Research & Business Partnership Award
- Researcher Entrepreneur Award
- Commercial Deal Award

Details on the categories and criteria are available on our website.

New 2015 Event - Sensors in the built environment

A sensors in the built environment event is coming up in March 4, 2015.  In partnership with Callaghan Innovation and the British High commission, KiwiNet is running a workshop to connect sensor developers with city planners and systems engineers to review latest developments in practical systems for smart cities: what works, what doesn’t, and what systems are already in place.  There will be an opportunity for attendees to network and build relationships to both NZ and British attendees to initiate novel and innovative solutions to issues faced today.
We're seeking expressions of interest from those who would like to attend and/or make a presentation at the workshop. A reception will be held at the end of the day.

A full agenda along with venue details, will be available in early 2015 on

Bumper December Investment Committee Meeting

Our final meeting for the year is our largest ever with 7 projects seeking Pre-Seed investment. Santa (yes, he has his hat on) and his elves share their collective wisdom and expertise to help drive them forward.

Annual Stakeholder Survey results

A huge thank-you to the 90 people who completed our survey. Here are the results. We had a wider range of respondents this year compared to 2013, and overall the results are more positive across the range of factors measured.

KiwiNet Innovation Database...

The KiwiNet innovation database enables businesses, entrepreneurs and investors worldwide to search for a diverse range of technologies and expertise in New Zealand's research organisations.

With 780 entries it's a great way to make new connections and see what NZ research organisations have to offer. Explore it today!

Holiday hours

We shut up shop at 5pm on Friday 19th December and we'll re-open on Monday 12th January, 2015.

Have a fabulous Christmas and we'll see you in the New Year!


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