2016 has seen the new leadership team settle into their roles. I have been pleased to see the way the wider MacDiarmid Institute has supported them in this. The New Zealand materials science community is small, but the Institute delivers scale, making our researchers internationally competitive. I am encouraged by the efforts of our Director, Thomas Nann, to encourage and foster research areas which draw on the strengths of our investigators. And I am pleased to see so many of our investigators receiving scientific awards at the highest level, in particular Marsdens and the Endeavour Round, PreSeed Accelerator Fund and many more (see ‘Funding successes’ on page 85).
Outside my pure Chair governance role my main interest and focus has been on the commercialisation and industry engagement area, supporting Deputy Director Justin Hodgkiss. We continue to make good progress with several new ventures entering the tech incubator programme and with many others in the pipeline. Further down the track, Cather Simpson’s Engender Technologies (using lasers to sort bovine sperm by sex) is on the verge of significant international success. The introduction of the Interface programme, which began late 2016 and will be launched in May 2017, will see our investigators directly tackle industry problems, and is an encouraging new initiative.
In the public engagement area our Deputy Director Nicola Gaston is overseeing the continuing strong work that MacDiarmid has been leading as we encourage younger students to get more interested in science, which is just so important in this rapidly changing technological age.
Dr Ray Thomson