National innovation network launched

KiwiNet is a collaboration between universities and crown research institutes

The Kiwi Innovation Network (KiwiNet), an organisation designed to foster the commercialisation of research carried out by universities and crown research institutes, was launched in Wellington yesterday evening.

KiwiNet founding members have a total combined research expenditure of more than $500 millions. They include WaikatoLink, Plant & Food Research, Otago Innovation Ltd, Lincoln University, AUT Enterprises, AgResearch, University of Canterbury, Industrial Research Ltd and VicLink.

Chaired by Ruth Richardson, KiwiNet will enable members to share resources, networks, best practise, IP and experience with the aim of creating more commercially viable IP and start-ups from research based ventures.

“We live in an era where discovery is the new currency and the success with which nations can foster the climate for innovation will determine their future prosperity. Much rests on our capacity to commercialise the ideas, schemes and dreams of our brightest and best as a small but competitive nation,” says Richardson.

According to a statement, KiwiNet expects to attract investors “on the hunt for proposition of commercial promise, and other entities with ideas who will want to test them through KiwiNet.”

Duncan Mackintosh, chief executive of WaikatoLink, the commercial arm of the University of Waikato, says that through KiwiNet the organisation can capture and transfer University intellectual property assets, along with other work from research institutions and commercial organisations, into New Zealand industry.

“KiwiNet has attracted some exciting commercialisation firepower and we have lots of concrete examples of what we’ve already been able to do. ZyGEM, Magritek, ArcActive, eco-n, SuperGel, HTS-110, Geosense, General Cable Superconductors and Endace are all good examples of companies formed and in-market products from research commercialised from Universities or CRI’s that are either already doing well in offshore markets or are showing enormous potential,” Macintosh says.

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