2015 Awards Finalists

The KiwiNet Awards celebrate heroes in research commercialisation — those individuals and organisations whose best practice approach is changing the innovation landscape in New Zealand. We congratulate the 2015 winners!

BNZ Supreme Award

This award celebrates the supreme entry which demonstrates overall excellence in all core areas of research commercialisation.

Prof Andy Buchanan: Leading a Vision of Multi-story Buildings from Renewable Resources

Also winner of the Researcher Entrepreneur Award

Professor Andy Buchanan is pioneering research at the University of Canterbury that has lifted engineered timber buildings into serious contention for the Christchurch rebuild after the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011.

He and his team have initiated a step-change in the perception of structural timber, allowing direct competition with concrete and steel for large span and multi-storey buildings, for the first time. His innovative products allow architects to design structures not previously possible with traditional materials. He is also leading the charge to commercialise these new timber building products with industry partners into the global market.

In 2010 he was also instrumental in the establishment of an industry consortium, creating deep industry engagement channels for him and his collaborators ensuring research outcomes with strong industry relevance.

People’s Choice Award

Recognises the presenter/s voted by their peers for research commercialisation excellence that is well presented and inspires others - the spirit of the KiwiNet Awards!

Prof Andy Buchanan: Leading a Vision of Multi-story Buildings from Renewable Resources

Also winner of the Researcher Entrepreneur Award

Professor Andy Buchanan is pioneering research at the University of Canterbury that has lifted engineered timber buildings into serious contention for the Christchurch rebuild after the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011.

He and his team have initiated a step-change in the perception of structural timber, allowing direct competition with concrete and steel for large span and multi-storey buildings, for the first time. His innovative products allow architects to design structures not previously possible with traditional materials. He is also leading the charge to commercialise these new timber building products with industry partners into the global market.

In 2010 he was also instrumental in the establishment of an industry consortium, creating deep industry engagement channels for him and his collaborators ensuring research outcomes with strong industry relevance.

Commercialisation Collaboration Award

This award recognises the outstanding new collaborations formed between multiple research organisations working together to build national scale around a technology platform or address a business need.

The Biopolymer Network Limited: Scion, Plant & Food Research & AgResearch

The Biopolymer Network Limited (BPN), a New Zealand-based research company, is focused on producing bio-based products and process for commercial applications. Three of New Zealand’s leading research organisations, Plant & Food Research, AgResearch and Scion and have come together to create scientific and technological excellence in the conversion of sustainable natural resources to biopolymers and biocomposites. The company is governed by a Board of six directors comprising two appointees from each of the shareholding research partners.

BPN has, through original research, developed and continues to develop its portfolio of intellectual property in biopolymers, bio-based specialty chemicals, bio-composites, bio-foams and moulded structures. Working together, the key partners in the Biopolymer Network are actively taking these products into the market place both to achieve our vision of a sustainable bio-based world and to create wealth.

Researcher Entrepreneur Award

This award recognises an entrepreneurial researcher who has made outstanding contributions to business innovation or has created innovative businesses in New Zealand through technology licencing, start-up creation or by providing expertise to support business innovation.

Prof Andy Buchanan: Leading a Vision of Multi-story Buildings from Renewable Resources

Also Winner of the BNZ Supreme Award

Professor Andy Buchanan is pioneering research at the University of Canterbury that has lifted engineered timber buildings into serious contention for the Christchurch rebuild after the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011.

He and his team have initiated a step-change in the perception of structural timber, allowing direct competition with concrete and steel for large span and multi-storey buildings, for the first time. His innovative products allow architects to design structures not previously possible with traditional materials. He is also leading the charge to commercialise these new timber building products with industry partners into the global market.

In 2010 he was also instrumental in the establishment of an industry consortium, creating deep industry engagement channels for him and his collaborators ensuring research outcomes with strong industry relevance.

MinterEllisonRuddWatts Research & Business Partnership Award

This award recognises the deeply embedded working relationship between a research organisation and business that delivers significant commercial value for New Zealand.

Comvita New Zealand Limited and Institute for Innovation in Biotechnology: Accelerating Innovation Together to Deliver Commercial Success

Comvita New Zealand Limited’s Innovation team is physically co-located at the Institute for Innovation in Biotechnology at The University of Auckland and has been collaborating on various research projects with the different departments at the university for the past five years. The partnership is a prime example of the triple helix model of university, industry and government collaboration. In this partnership, all three parties are intertwined to provide and receive benefit from each other.

  • Comvita is interested in a variety of skill sets available throughout the university and fosters young talents through internships and post-graduate research projects. The Comvita Innovation team has worked together with the university’s academic staff and co-supervised over 50 students in the last three years.
  • With this model, Comvita can access wide-ranging expert knowledge at the university as well as respond to a diverse range of research needs of the business. This leads to IP generation and strengthening of Comvita’s core product value proposition.
  • Students conduct Comvita’s research projects as part of their academic programme or internship which equips them with industry experience. This makes them highly employable, and Comvita has employed many of the senior students at the end of their projects.
  • Many of the student projects are funded by the government’s capability grant or internship grants.

This close working relationship between the business and academia encourages the researchers and students to be both interested in Comvita’s business needs and committed to make discoveries that have strong business relevance. Comvita understands the long term value of this partnership and invests a significant part of their $3M annual R&D spending on the research projects at the university.

Institute For Innovation In Biotechnology

Univarsity of Auckland

PwC Commercial Deal Award

This award celebrates excellence in research commercialisation delivering outstanding innovation performance and the potential for generating significant economic impact for New Zealand.

Plant & Food Research - Revolutionising Plant Variety Commercialisation: An Evolution from Transactional Plant Sales Based Royalties to Participation in Commercial Success

Plant & Food Research has an international reputation for developing new and innovative plant varieties with commercial success. However, early in its relationship with US partner, Northwest Plant Company LLC (NWPCO) it was recognised that a traditional royalties based on plant sales would not generate sufficient revenues to justify commencing, let alone sustaining, a plant breeding programme, even if the resultant varieties were widely planted and hugely successful.

In the case of 'Wakefield', a new raspberry cultivar that had shown promising benefits over other varieties, the solution was to implement a new pricing model based on an annual grower licence fee for use of variety.

The annual fee continues for the life of the planting and is based on the value Wakefield delivers to growers, structured so that the grower retains a minimum two thirds of the commercial benefit of growing Wakefield over and above what they would earn from growing other varieties.

Use of the plant therefore delivers significant benefits to the growers, but also returns annual earnings to Plant & Food Research. This innovative model has now seen licensing fees returned to New Zealand from the intellectual property already exceed NZ$1 Million with significant further growth projected.