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Database breeds familiarity between science and business

The Kiwi Innovation Network (KiwiNet) has launched a database of national research projects, inventions and patents, with an eye to connecting businesses, entrepreneurs and investors worldwide.

KiwiNet is a network of universities and crown research institutes, and its database currently hosts more than 70 innovations and profiles on various groups including the University of Otago, Landcare and Plant & Food Research.

Projects seeking startup capital include biopesticides, artificial muscle material allowing users to power and wear devices, and electrochemical cells able to remove water contaminants to provide clean drinking water for cattle.

KiwiNet director Andrew Turnbull said the database was designed to jumpstart the transfer of research technology to the marketplace by bringing together science and business.

"We have a wealth of innovations in our universities and research institutes and by opening up access and working together we can unlock great value.”

Investment firm Endeavour Capital has already made several investments through KiwiNet members WaikatoLink, University of Canterbury and Otago Innovation.

Chairman Neville Jordan said a collective approach to innovation, a global network and easy access for funders increased the chance of success for ventures.

The Ministry of Science and Innovation will also use its international portals to promote the database.

Peter Lee, UniServices chief executive, said: “It makes good sense for us to form a national portfolio of innovation, opening up the research network in New Zealand in order to boost commercialisation. By showcasing our technologies and capabilities in an easy to access portal like this we can have a greater impact internationally.”