Industry and Innovation

Nov
27

Green Science – Jonathan Halpert

Story by Veronika Meduna With demand for solar energy on the rise globally, Jonathan Halpert is well positioned to make an impact. A lecturer at Victoria University’s School of Chemical and Physical Sciences and an Associate Investigator of the MacDiarmid Institute, Dr Halpert was awarded a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship—which means up to $800,000 over five […]

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Nov
27

Starting To Gel – Hanton and Moratti

Story by Ruth Beran “I never thought I’d be doing anything commercial” says University of Otago’s Professor Lyall Hanton. “I thought that maybe the system I was developing might be used. Or my research might have an application in a hundred years’ time, but I never thought that I would actually do anything useful in […]

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Desi Ramoo – Innovation Agent

There are more than seventy MacDiarmid Institute researchers around the country, burrowing away at the frontiers of knowledge. Their fundamental research is uncovering secrets to bend the rules of modern life and shape our future. But when they are burrowing this deep, it can be easy to forget their reasons for starting in the first […]

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Alumni: Cosmin Laslau – Evaluating energy ideas

When Cosmin Laslau was at school, nanotechnology was an up and coming area of science receiving large amounts of publicity. Being tremendously excited by the opportunities, as well as being young and impressionable, he started down the nanotechnology research path. His career has been a mix of study, research and commercialisation, skills he now uses as a Research Analyst at Lux […]

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Alumni: Ojas Mahapatra – Photonic Innovations

Ojas Mahapatra is one of those enviable people who gets paid to do what he loves. In 2013, he became the CEO of Photonic Innovations, a spin-out company from the University of Otago which is commercialising gas detectors for industries where levels of potentially toxic gases need to be monitored. The technology was developed by Professor Andrew Wilson and uses […]

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OPINION: A small, advanced economy?

  I BORROW this title from a Statistics New Zealand commentary, which points out that in terms of the title we are probably not so advanced, despite a regular programme of government-to-government meetings with these economies with which we might like to be compared. As Shaun Hendy and Paul Callaghan’s 2013 book Get off the […]

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Dec
03

Speeding up science

WELLINGTON-based startup Publons took its name from a nerdy physics joke about the academic publishing industry. According to the joke, the elusive ‘publon’ is the elementary particle of scientific publication, but the academic publishing business is no laughing matter. Co-founder of Publons, Andrew Preston, says the industry is big. “Last year 1.6 million journal articles […]

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Dec
03

Water for the world

Keoni Mahelona wants to ‘provide water for the world’. “If water is the next commodity, I don’t want greedy companies owning it in the future,” he says. Mahelona has experienced firsthand what water scarcity is like. “I’ve lived in the Far North and I know that families do run out of water, every summer for […]

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Dec
03

Focused on the human equation

As a PhD Student, David Melville worked at The MacDiarmid Institute with Professor Richard Blaikie investigating photolithography. He has recently shifted into the field of what IBM call Cognitive Computing.   AS A PhD STUDENT, David Melville worked at The MacDiarmid Institute with Professor Richard Blaikie investigating photolithography—the process by which computer chips are made. […]

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Dec
03

Biominerals to bones

Anybody in need of joint replacement surgery will appreciate the options modern medicine provides, but if Kate McGrath has her way, future patients won’t require any screws or other metal parts in their new hips or knees. The director of the MacDiarmid Institute and her research team are borrowing ideas from nature to develop innovative […]

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From trash to treasure

There are thousands of different types of proteins— probably millions—collectively capable of carrying out a huge number of complex processes, and yet they are all made out of just 20 building blocks.    ANTONY said it of Cleopatra—but the same could be said of proteins—‘custom cannot stale their infinite variety’. There are thousands of different […]

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Simon Hall – Passive Student, Active Scientist

  Simon Hall, specialist in the use of electrochemistry for energy storage applications at Massey University, describes himself as having been a “passive student.” He was born into a family that valued science, with his father having completed a chemistry MSc at Victoria University a few years behind Alan MacDiarmid. Simon’s father worked in industry […]

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Protecting Teeth With Silver

  Since arriving in New Zealand three years ago I have had the pleasure of participating in two AMN conferences. This year I was once again impressed by the high caliber of the conference, and thoroughly inspired by dynamic presentations from prominent scientists in the fields of materials science and nanotechnology. The collaborative spirit of […]

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Energy, Emulating Leaves and an Emmy Nomination

  Professor Daniel Nocera thinks that if the world behaved more like scientists, there’d be less war – everyone would see themselves as the part of the world, rather than individual countries. Nocera’s long and illustrious career has seen him work with many promising young scientists who now work in laboratories around the world creating […]

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From Molecules to the Market

Taking single molecules and tethering them to a surface to produce highly controllable functions as the basis for precision sensors, medical diagnostic tools or even lighting arrays may sound like the stuff of science fiction, but the groundwork is being tackled in the University of Canterbury lab of Dr Alison Downard. The MacDiarmid Institute Principal […]

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Long Life In Battery Development

  The humble battery may seem a bit prosaic for an organisation called the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology, but research into battery technology, and the underlying science, has been a part of the MacDiarmid Institute since its founding. Before it’s founding, in fact, as Alan MacDiarmid himself gained a Nobel Prize in […]

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The Long, Winding Road that is Commercialisation

  It’s long been a given that New Zealand needs to pay close attention to the commercialisation of research in order to build successful, innovative companies that can take resulting products and services to the world. However, it’s a lot easier to say that, than to do it. Looking back over the past 10 years […]

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The Buzz of Business

  Eight years ago, PhD student Sam Yu was inspired by a seminar on entrepreneurship organised by Bill Swallow as part of the Growth Industry Pilot Initiative to build enterprise culture in Lincoln University and the University of Canterbury. “It really made me feel passionate about doing the hands-on aspects of science,” Yu recalls. This […]

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What to do with Chemistry

It was a sense of adventure that led Eva Weatherall to study science at university, rather than law like all her school friends, or medicine like her father. “I wanted to do something where I didn’t quite know where I was going to end up,” she said. Now, three and a half years later, the […]

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A Culture of Commercialisation

In general, I see my role as being to facilitate commercialization activity in the Institute, and to build a culture of commercialisation.  I’m not going to be doing the commercialisation in the sense of starting companies and writing business plans but, hopefully, I can help put structures and networks in place to support people who want […]

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New Company Registered

Synthodics Ltd was registered on 17 June 2011. This new spin-out company was formed to commercialise intellectual property arising from a research programme at Massey University led by Simon Hall. Since September 2009, Simon had been working withhis colleagues, Mark Waterland (MacDiarmid Institute Associate Investigator) and Gareth Rowlands, on some new concepts for use in […]

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Collaborating – a CoRE Issue

At first glance, there would seem to be little to connect a hi-tech nanotechnology-focused research centre with another concentrating on agri-foods, but look again.     Over the past three to four years, the MacDiarmid and the Riddet Institutes have worked together, sharing personnel and equipment to bring fundamental physical research on materials and structures […]

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Peering Inside Nanopores

“We make money from invisible holes.  But we can’t afford to be invisible.” Hans van der Voorn, Executive Chairman of nanotechnology start-up firm Izon, spreads out a series of brochures highlighting his company’s brightly-coloured, cheerful-looking devices, each housing its trademark nanopore technology. “We made a conscious decision not to have any grey instruments. It’s a little unusual, […]

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Is it possible to make money from science in New Zealand?

  “As I sail my boat in Auckland harbour and look at the skyline of the central business district I don’t see any businesses based on science,” said entrepreneur Dr Brett Wells at the recent MacDiarmid symposium. “What I see are mostly service industries. Without the big technology companies or venture capitalists, like they have […]

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Sensitive New Age chemistry

  Sometimes, a very small amount of something can have a big effect. Minute traces of contraceptive estrogen in waterways can affect fish, toxins from algal blooms can cause shellfish to become dangerous to eat, and bacteria in air conditioning can lead to Legionnaire’s disease. A major issue has been finding a way to detect something […]

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MacDiarmid – a necessary luxury

The multi-million experiment that is the MacDiarmid Institute is both a necessity and a luxury for New Zealand, according to its new director, Dr Richard Blaikie. That may sound a little edgy, but it makes sense when you consider the strategic importance of fundamental science in underpinning the discoveries that lead to an economy strongly […]

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A Drunken Spider

Keynote speaker at 2007’s Student and Postdoc Symposium held at Massey University in late November was Managing Director of Healtheries, Sarah Kennedy. She told the audience that her career had been, “like a drunken spider on a slippery windscreen”. Mike Bodnar was there. Monday 26 November, Sarah Kennedy faced her post-doctoral audi­ence and apologised for […]

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Rising to the Nanochallenge

  In November this year two MacDiarmid Institute scholarship students present their ground-breaking research into nanoscale imaging of cells to an  international panel of scientific and investment experts in Italy. At stake is a major prize, potential world fame, and maybe a medical breakthrough… With hospital dramas all the rage on TV these days we’ve […]

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Simon Brown Takes Nano Cluster Devices to the International Stage

  The April issue of Semiconductor International, featured New Zealand technology on its front cover and in its lead article. Semiconductor International is the largest publication targeting the semiconductor industry worldwide, with a circulation of 50,000. The technology was developed by Dr Simon Brown a MacDiarmid Institute Principal Investigator based at the University of Canterbury whose work has […]

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Metamorphosis From Academic to Businessman

  At a time in life when most people start thinking about slowing down, David Beaglehole decided to reinvent himself as a businessman. After nearly 30 years as a professor of physics at Victoria University, he could have simply retired. But he had developed a range of instruments that could measure the thickness of interfaces and surfaces to […]

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Magritek Makes It Small and Portable

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) works by placing a sample into a magnetic field, causing the atom nuclei to oscillate at a particular frequency. Firing a radio wave into the atom in resonance with those oscillations, results in a delicate returning wave which contains detailed information about the material properties. NMR works particularly well with compounds that contain hydrogen atoms (such […]

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Patent Battle Victory

  Two MacDiarmid Institute Principal Investigators, Professor Jeff Tallon and Dr Bob Buckley, are part of a team which has won a 14 year international patent battle.A patent has finally been awarded by the US Patent Office for Industrial Research’s key high-temperature superconducting ceramic discovery. This material is the only substance being used commercially in […]

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