Tag Archives: research and innovation

UC academics get a jumpstart on their innovations

Enhanced hearing tech, a speech analysis app and high-speed additive manufacturing technology were among the five project winners announced at the annual UC Innovation Jumpstart awards on 6 November.

The Innovation Jumpstart competition gives UC academic staff a chance to transform their innovative ideas into a reality and learn more about commercialisation of ideas in the process. The competition has grown steadily since its inception in 2010 and this year had a 50% increase in the number of applications compared to 2018.

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UC Commercial Director Liz Hopkins is pleased to see the transformation of the competition and the work that has gone into showing innovation and commercialisation is possible in all areas of academia.

“This year, for the first time, we received applications from every College of the highest calibre. It’s made the task of selecting the award-winners extremely difficult and we’d like to commend all those who entered,” she said.

The Research and Innovation team have transformed the competition in recent years to encourage applications for ideas beyond highly commercial products to include those targeting social enterprise and community service offerings. This year a new prize category was introduced to celebrate ideas with a social or environmental angle.

Each prize winner received $20,000 funding to help with experimentation, proof-of concept, technology or service development.

Congratulations to all the participants and the prize winners:

WNT Venture prize: Dr Stefanie Gutschmidt, Engineering and Professor Greg O’Beirne, Science 
Project: Enhanced hearing technology inspired by Human Cochlea Amplifier

Astrolab prize: Dr Yilei Zhang, Engineering
Project: High-speed additive manufacturing technology

Jumpstart prize: Associate Professor Mark Staiger, Engineering
Project: Monolithic biodegradable plate system for bone fracture fixation

Jumpstart prize: Dr Toby Macrae, Science
Project: Developing a speech analysis app.

Social / environmental prize: Dr Aisling O’Sullivan, Professor Tom Cochrane, Dr Frances Charters, Engineering
Project: Nitrate treatment and waste shell valorisation from an innovative filter system.

Appointment of Assistant Vice-Chancellor Strategic Projects

While it was decided in August that the proposed Lincoln University UC partnership proposal would not proceed, the University is moving forward with a new and exciting partnership with Lincoln – a joint postgraduate and research institute.

Also involving relevant Crown Research Institutes, the initiative had been proposed as part of the initial partnership proposal but is something both parties have committed to moving forward.

Professor Wendy Lawson will lead UC’s role in the establishment of the initiative, accepting a temporary secondment into the new position of Assistant Vice-Chancellor Strategic Projects from 14 October 2019 until 30 June 2020.

In this role, Professor Lawson will also assist Vice-Chancellor Professor Cheryl de la Rey and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Wright with Research and Innovation related projects.

Dean of Science Professor Janet Carter will step into the role of Acting Pro-Vice-Chancellor Science, and member of the Senior Management Team, for the duration of Professor Lawson’s secondment.

Congratulations to Professors Lawson and Carter on their appointments.

Innovation Jumpstart workshop – Intellectual Property

When: Wednesday 2 October, 11.30am-1.00pm
Where: Forestry building, F1 lecture theatre

Michael Brown, principal at intellectual property law firm AJ Park, will present a one hour session on intellectual property (IP).  The session will introduce and discuss the different types of IP, explain how IP can be used to achieve commercial success, and cover important points to optimise protection. Questions will be welcomed.

Michael joined AJ Park in 1998 and currently co-heads the engineering and ICT patents team. His role involves advising clients on patentability, design registration and product commercialisation. He prepares and prosecutes patent applications, both in New Zealand and abroad and also regularly conducts infringement and freedom-to-operate assessments, patent portfolio due diligence, and IP audits.

A light lunch will be available from 11:30am, and Michael’s talk will begin at midday.

Please RSVP to adrian.busch@canterbury.ac.nz

UC engineers excel in MBIE Endeavour Funding

Three UC engineers have been awarded research funding totalling $11.8 million for the next 3-5 years in the latest round of Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Endeavour Funding, announced by Hon Dr Megan Woods today. 

Professors Conan Fee, Shusheng Pang and Mathieu Sellier received funding for research they are leading in the areas of renewable energy and advanced manufacturing. 

See the UC news story here>
Read more about the announcement here>

Professor Conan Fee, School of Product Design, UC Engineering – 3D printed porous media for process engineering ($9,812,550 funded over five years)

This research project will revolutionise manufacturing processes that have only changed incrementally over the last two centuries. Using advances in 3D print technologies, the research programme will develop ways to create structures of complex solid and fluid channel geometric design to deliver heat and mass exchange more efficiently. Work to date shows that 3D-printed triply periodic minimal surfaces (3D-TPMS) offer significant advantages over existing heat exchanger and porous bed designs, but the knowledge gap between engineering science and computational tools required for the design of 3D-printed structures is preventing implementation in real-world applications, which the research programme will address.

Professor Shusheng Pang, Chemical and Process Engineering – Integrated chemical looping and oxygen uncoupling with advanced biomass gasification, for renewable hydrogen production and carbon dioxide capture ($999,999 funded over three years)

This research will develop a new system that combines advanced technology of biomass steam gasification with the capability of Hot Lime Labs for developing new carbon dioxide sorbents and oxygen carrier materials. This research will develop a new process and materials to produce bio-hydrogen and capture carbon dioxide by using New Zealand wood biomass resources from log harvesting and wood processing. The bio-hydrogen produced could be used as transport fuel, a chemical feedstock for methanol, ammonia and oil refineries. At present 95 per cent of hydrogen used in these industries is produced from fossil fuels. Carbon dioxide captured from this process could be used in plant greenhouses, fertiliser manufacturing and methanol or ethanol production.   

Professor Mathieu Sellier, Mechanical Engineering – Development of a multi-axis spin-coating system to coat curved surfaces ($1,000,000 funded over three years)

By developing a system with the capability to spin-coat curved surfaces product developers will have more flexibility in the shapes they can produce. Traditionally, spin coating is achieved by depositing a liquid on the surface and then spinning it off to leave a thin film that will solidify. Non-uniformity of liquid distribution is the biggest challenge to spin-coating curved surfaces. For the first time, Professor Sellier’s Smart Idea will develop optimal flow control algorithms using the theory of Partial Differential Equation and a multi-axis system to achieve uniform distribution of liquid onto a curved surface which will revolutionise the possibilities of product development.

Innovation Jumpstart workshop – Maximising your chances of success

When: Tuesday 17 September, 12:30-1:30pm 
Where: Rehua 329

Come along to this workshop presented by experienced early stage investor Jon Sandbrook from WNT Ventures.

At this workshop, Jon will share his observations about what it takes to build a new venture from garage to greatness. Outlining some of the fundamentals of success for new start-ups on that journey, Jon will share learnings from hard-won experiences working closely with innovative start-up companies across a range of industries and technologies.

Through this workshop, you’ll learn about the fundamentals for start-up success through the eyes of an investor, and get some specific tips and advice for how to ensure your Innovation Jumpstart application is the best it can be.

About Jon

Jon Sandbrook is Investment Manager for WNT Ventures, a deep technology start-up investment firm with a history of supporting and working with New Zealand’s most innovative companies. Jon has first-hand experience as a repeat start-up founder and a background spanning corporate strategy, policy, consulting and investment.