2.1 The business science interface – Annual Report 2017

The science end of business meets the business end of science

New Zealand companies have finite resources to develop innovative technology for global markets. Yet right down the road from some of these local companies are scientists from the MacDiarmid Institute, leading the world in some of these very same areas. While the main research drive of the MacDiarmid Institute is not industry-led, we’ve found we have a great capacity to help industry solve particular problems.

The Interface Industry Challenge

We invited high-tech New Zealand companies to challenge our scientists with tough technological problems they faced – things they couldn’t solve on their own. We then matched these problems with scientists from Centres of Research Excellence (CoREs).

The companies are excited about tapping into top research minds and the pipeline of talented PhD graduates.

The scientists are stimulated by the problems thrown at them, and excited about contributing to New Zealand industry and forging career paths for their graduates.

Already, these projects are moving the companies forward, generating valuable new intellectual property, and exposing researchers to the business end of science.

The companies we are working with range from early-stage start- ups such as Avertana, Aquafortus, and Lanaco, to the biggest fish in the New Zealand high-tech manufacturing sector, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare.

Another major benefit is that we are connecting our PhD graduates with New Zealand industry. We’re giving them a taste of industrial research and development, and helping them realise what is possible in an R&D career in New Zealand. Moreover, we’re giving New Zealand businesses insight into the kinds of graduates we are producing, so that they continue to look to the MacDiarmid Institute for high-tech and data-savvy PhD graduates for roles in all sorts of industry positions.