TURNING RESEARCH INTO BUSINESS
In a time of rapid social and economic change, radical responses are called for, and the University of Auckland is committed to meeting this challenge. It has been recognised as a world leader in fostering innovative and entrepreneurial talent, creating groundbreaking solutions for myriad issues.
“As New Zealand’s largest provider of research and innovation, we are committed to developing the entrepreneurs and new technologies that will strengthen our traditional industries, create new high-value businesses and add value to people’s lives in New Zealand and around the world,” says Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart McCutcheon.
The university’s dedication to innovation has earned it global recognition. It was identified as one of the world’s top five “emerging leaders in entrepreneurship” in a report written by Dr Ruth Graham, a leading world consultant on university-based entrepreneurship. And Reuters has ranked the University of Auckland as the most innovative university in Australasia.
More than 41,000 students are enrolled at the university, of whom around 11,500 are postgraduates and some 6,500 are international students from over 100 countries. Research is a key priority across all disciplines and students and academics are encouraged to explore the full potential of discoveries. To this end they are offered numerous initiatives aimed at developing enterprise skills. Among these is Velocity, a student-led entrepreneurial development programme supported by the university’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Since it began, the programme has raised more than NZ$210 m (£120 m) in capital and created more than 460 jobs, in New Zealand and overseas.
Auckland UniServices Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of the University of Auckland, was established in 1988 to commercialise technologies developed by researchers at the university. To date, it has spun out more than 41 companies with a cumulative value of around NZ$500 m, raised over $200 m, and created numerous high-quality jobs.
As the largest commercialisation and technology transfer company in New Zealand, UniServices’ investments have resulted in the creation of a number of world-leading high-technology companies including Soul Machines, Telemetry Research, PowerbyProxi, ApiMatic and AirQuality Ltd, and licences with some of the world’s largest companies such as Qualcomm, Sony and Siemens.
MAKING AN IMPACT
StretchSense, a company that designs lightweight, stretchy sensors and power generators for online gaming, animation, sports and post-surgery rehabilitation, is one of the university’s many success stories. Associate Professor Iain Anderson developed the wearable technology with two of his former students, Ben O’Brien and Todd Gisby in the Biomimetics Lab. The company has won awards for its work and is seeing rapid growth worldwide, becoming the leading supplier of smart stretch sensors and generators for the wearable technology market.
Meanwhile, the university’s Laboratory for Animate Technologies is developing machines that can laugh, cry and learn, and will help define the next generation of human–computer interaction and computer facial animation. The university’s groundbreaking research in the area of artificial intelligence has led to a new commercial venture, Soul Machines, whose work creating human-like avatars has attracted significant investment.
Inspired by the challenges and opportunities of a rapidly changing world, the University of Auckland is blazing a trail in harnessing its world-leading research to create innovative solutions that will have a lasting impact around the world.