The University of Auckland’s commercialisation arm, Auckland UniServices has teamed up with Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) to develop technology innovation opportunities, a move it says will benefit New Zealand entrepreneurs and researchers
The two bodies have signed an MoU that, according to the university, will enable them to significantly increase technological cooperation in robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), advanced materials, and energy, and build a framework for close cooperation between students and joint research projects.
Auckland UniServices chief executive Dr Andy Shenk said AIST would provide experience and contacts in the Japanese market that would give NZ entrepreneurs an edge when trying to leverage opportunities in Japan and other international markets.
“The exchange of knowledge will undoubtedly develop ground-breaking technology products that will create jobs and multi-million-dollar revenues for both nations,” he said.
“We were particularly keen to partner with AIST as they share a similar vision to UniServices in creating new technologies that not only improve the economy but also build a more sustainable and eco-friendly society.”
UniServices claims to work on some 1,200 projects with more than 300 New Zealand and global firms annually and, in 2018, to have generated new research contracts worth $169.4 million, executed more than 84 patent licences and created 11 businesses to commercialise university research. Its spin-out companies have raised about $148 million in the last five years.
AIST, according to its website, is one of the largest public research organisations in Japan. It focuses on the creation and practical realisation of technologies useful to Japanese industry and society, and on bridging the gap between innovative technological seeds and commercialisation.
It has about 2000 researchers spread across 11 research bases, around 30 “comprehensive MoUs” with organisations in multiple countries and a similar number of “specific” MoUs. The latter list includes an MoU with New Zealand Crown Research Institute GNS Science, which claims to be New Zealand's leading provider of earth, geoscience and isotope research and consultancy services.