New Zealand is forging closer ties with one of the largest research organisations in the US with the signing of a cooperation agreement with the Texas A&M University System.
KiwiNet, the commercialisation consortium of universities and crown research institutes, will work with the A&M System Office of Technology Commercialization to identify joint opportunities, particularly in agriculture.
Under the memorandum of understanding KiwiNet will identify client companies that have an interest in moving into the New Zealand and US markets respectively, and technologies that could expand through cooperative development and commercialisation opportunities in other regions.
A collaborative approach will also be employed to encourage multinationals in the R&D field to participate in research programmes both within the A&M System and at research organisations in New Zealand involved in projects.
“Sharing each other’s technology, capital, entrepreneurs, incubators, and partner networks will open up an array of opportunities that would otherwise not be available to us," said Duncan Mackintosh, chief executive of KiwiNet member WaikatoLink.
"KiwiNet represents a new generation of collaboration and alignment as we’re connecting technologies and expertise across the country, providing a national support network, and working to take technologies offshore through international connections like this.”
"For every node we add to our network we see exponential benefits."
Brett Cornwell, A&M's associate vice chancellor for commercialisation, said KiwiNet’s national portfolio approach had both scale and credibility. Joining forces would enable KiwiNet to tap into A&M's networks to move technologies into Europe and the US.
“By building a stronger global innovation network we can achieve greater impact. We’re keen to replicate the success we’ve had with a similar agreement with AWEX, the Wallonia Foreign Trade and Investment Agency in the Walloon region of Belgium, which has linked us into Europe."
The Texas A&M University System boasts a network of 11 universities, seven state agencies and a comprehensive health science centre.
KiwiNet was launched in July to increase the scale and impact of commercialisation in New Zealand; its core organisations have a research spend of $500 million-plus and more than 6,000 staff.