Tag Archives: Research & Innovation

South Africa National Science Foundation CEO visits UC

Dr Molapo Qhobela (Chief Executive Officer of the South Africa National Science Foundation) visited UC this week to discuss possible research collaborations between South African universities and New Zealand. Dr Qhobela has vast experience in the South African university sector and the national research sector, including being Vice-Principal at the University of South Africa, Deputy Director-General at the Department of Science and Technology, and Acting Director-General at the Department of Higher Education and Training.

Dr Molapo Qhobela presented a lecture on Monday this week, hosted by Vice-Chancellor Professor Cheryl de La Rey, entitled “The Role of Science for the Sustainable Development Goals, and Opportunity for Africa – NZ Collaboration”, which was followed by a group discussion on potential synergies between Aotearoa New Zealand and South Africa.

Dr Molapo Qhobela (Chief Executive Officer of the South Africa National Science Foundation) with UC Deputy Vice-Chancellor Ian Wright. 

Discussion points for follow-up included the collaborative use of research infrastructure, exchange programmes for research fellows, greater awareness of researchers and research funders around the impact of research (and how impact is assessed), and potential for both countries to work together to promote internationally a process of indigenous knowledge systems being weaved and connected with Western society science understanding.

Dr Qhobela has regular contact with the Royal Society Te Apārangi and MBIE as part of the Global Research Alliance to undertake international research to better support policy and societal choices around the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Innovation Jumpstart momentum builds as all colleges jump in

At a time when the Innovation Jumpstart Competition is branching out into exciting new territory, UC Research & Innovation were thrilled to received 20 entries the second highest number of entries in six years of running the competition. 

This comes at a time when the competition branches out into brave new territory.  Formerly Tech Jumpstart, the new name refocuses the concept of innovation across all of UC’s disciplines and colleges.

Applications came from every college 

ENGINEERING                          11  = 55%

SCIENCE                                         6 = 30%

ARTS                                                  1 = 5%

BUSINESS and LAW                  1 = 5%

EDUCATION, HEALTH
and
HUMAN DEVELOPMENT    1 = 5%                                                                                                          

Digging deeper:

  • 10 submissions (50%) were from individual researchers
  • 10 submissions (50%) were contributed by two or more researchers as a team
  • 36 academic staff in total
  • 7 staff (19%) had submitted in the previous 2017 Tech Jumpstart Competition
  • 29 staff (81%) were submitting for the first time.

What’s next?

Shortlisting is happening Tuesday  21 August by a group of external and internal judges followed by the top entries presenting their proposals on Thursday 13 September.

The top five projects will receive $20,000 funding each to help with innovation and technology development, as well as commercialisation support from Research & Innovation (R&I) and possible access to additional funding sources for continued development.

Awards ceremony – reminder that the Innovation Jumpstart Competition 2018 Awards Ceremony will be held on 3 October, 6:00pm – 7:30pm in the UC Council Chambers, Matariki Building.
Applicants and others interested are invited to attend. RSVP information will be provided closer to the time.

Innovation Jumpstart – Models for commercialisation workshop 3 August

Just how do you go about commercialising an innovation? What things should you concentrate on to increase your chances of success?

There are many models for commercialisation, often with contradictory advice. As part of the Innovation Jumpstart 2018 competition Adrian Busch from R&I gives a whistle-stop tour of six such models, and attempts to garner a little guidance from each.

Date      3 Aug
Time      11.00am – 12.00pm
Venue   Ernest Rutherford 225

Please RSVP to Adrian Busch – adrian.busch@canterbury.ac.nz

Sign up to Innovation Jumpstart now

You will become a part of UC’s innovation community which includes opportunities for support and to participate in workshops and seminars. You could also win one five $20,000 prizes.

Find more information and the Innovation Jumpstart application form here>

Innovation Jumpstart key dates:

  • Applications close 6.00pm, Friday 10 August 2018
  • Judging will take place over the following four weeks – shortlisted entrants may be asked to make a short presentation to the judging panel
  • Winners announced at a celebration event early October 2018

 

Innovation Jumpstart – Intellectual Property seminar, 27 July

On Friday 27 July, (11.30am to 12.30pm) Michael Brown, Principal at intellectual property law firm AJ Park will present a one-hour seminar on intellectual property.  Lunch provided. 
Venue: Ernest Rutherford 225

He will provide a summary of types of intellectual property, its relevance to the university and other innovative environments, and some important points to keep in mind to optimise protection and potential commercial benefits.

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

Sign up to Innovation Jumpstart now

You will become a part of UC’s innovation community which includes opportunities for support and to participate in workshops and seminars. You could also win one five $20,000 prizes.

Find more information and the Innovation Jumpstart application form here>

Innovation Jumpstart key dates:

  • Applications close 6.00pm, Friday 10 August 2018
  • Judging will take place over the following four weeks – shortlisted entrants may be asked to make a short presentation to the judging panel
  • Winners announced at a celebration event early October 2018

 

 

 

Extraordinary future for technology with UC beginnings

As a result of carbon fibre electrode technology initially developed by Associate Professor John Abrahamson, there will soon be a UC connection to hybrid vehicles manufactured internationally.

Prof Abrahamson tells us more about his technology and the work of local company, ArcActive who will be developing it with American partners with an eye to the future of sustainable vehicles.

Q1: What was the original technology?

The original technology revolved around processing fabric made of carbon fibre in such a way that it enhanced its usefulness for building electrodes.  Using processed carbon fabric in an electrode for a lead-acid battery enhanced the effective surface for producing and absorbing electrical current.

Q2:  What made you realise that there was commercial potential?

In 2008 we did an international trip talking to firms with a possible interest in our technology, and had keen interest from a battery maker who turned up to see us with senior business staff in the room.  We then checked out the battery use economics, which were promising.

We initially scoped out where the material could possibly have a use, and then did some initial experiments to give us a sense of the technical performance we could achieve. From this data, we arranged meetings with numerous companies in a variety of industries to discuss what we had, and gauge their interest.

From this visit, we identified a new way of using the material that opened up a new technical avenue to explore. This ultimately became the product and market that is the basis of the announced partnership. 

There are many things that need to be answered to know that you have something with commercial potential, which is why it has taken 10 years to go from initial idea to partnership:

  1. enhanced performance on a technical attribute that solves an unmet need,
  2. Intellectual Property: both Freedom to Operate and your own patents,
  3. consistency in performance,
  4. manufacturing techniques suited to high volume manufacturing settings,
  5. partners to manufacture the product,
  6. a supply chain that can deliver material in a timely/quality and cost appropriate way,
  7. a product cost that allows everyone to make money and still have the customer buy your product,
  8. an investment requirement that suits doing this work in New Zealand (i.e. is not particularly capital intensive).

So, it is a long and somewhat iterative process to ensure that what you have really does have commercial potential, but the starting point is ‘are we solving a major problem for someone?’.

The more important and difficult the problem is to solve, the better the chance you have – and there is no substitute for meeting potential customers to work this out.

The thing we have observed is that if you have the “market pain” and market size well established, investors will be tolerant about technical risk – in their eyes, this becomes a risk worth taking.

Q3: What encouragement or advice would you give to other researchers / innovators / students who are wondering if their work has a commercial application?

Talk to possible commercial collaborators about the pain in the market, even though this may be risky.  Choose carefully who you talk to.

Q4: What was your reaction to news of the two-year commercial deal outlined in the NBR?

It is very pleasing from a number of viewpoints.  A major one is that use of our technology in the batteries of hybrid vehicles is likely to bring about a major reduction in the fuel used for transport, worldwide, and this deal is a significant step towards that result.