We have recently started profiling commercialisation professionals from across the country in each newsletter and in this issue we meet Dave Christensen. Dave is a well known face in the research commercialisation space in New Zealand and works hard to improve the commercialisation output of the University of Otago.
How did you get into this area of work and where did you begin your career?
By accident – the old who you know, not what you know story. It all began in Dunedin in 2003…..
Tell us about some exciting projects you have been involved with.
I'm fortunate to have been involved in quite a number of exciting projects. Two that come to mind are: Upstream Medical Technologies Ltd – a recent spin-out that was 6.5 years in the making, and a lot more besides from the research team and Ubiquitome Ltd – a company formed around a handheld, portable qPCR device developed by Dr Jo Stanton and her team in the University's Anatomy Department. I should also mention the KiwiNet Investment Committee. Having the opportunity to hear about and contribute to the incredible commercialisation projects under-way around the country is a real privilege.
I love research commercialisation because….
No two days are the same, yet every day is ground-hog day. Seriously though,working on fascinating projects that the average New Zealander would have no idea were going on is a pretty good reason to get out of bed each day, as is the potential to make a difference in people's lives through some of those projects.
What one thing could be done to improve commercialisation in New Zealand?
For those not immediately connected with commercialisation to have a better understanding as to how hard it is to succeed in this area, and that even when we don’t succeed commercially on a project, for them to understand that some value still accrues.
What is your favourite quote?
We work with the willing.
What technology would you love to have been involved with over the past 10 years?
I'm pretty happy with the things I have been involved with to be honest, though I would have liked to have been more involved than I was in Martin Aircraft's jet-pack.
As a wine connoisseur, what wine best describes a commercialisation professional and why?
That's a tricky one; in my opinion wine is incredibly personal and subjective so just because I like, or dislike, a wine doesn't mean others will or should feel similarly. Push me though and I'd have to say a top Australian Cabernet or Shiraz – can be quite unapproachable early on, but they can, and often-times do, get better with age.